by Mitch Anthony

To succeed, you will soon learn, as I did, the importance of a solid foundation in the basics of education – literacy, both verbal and numerical, and communication skills” — Alan Greenspan

Every so often, we all need to get back to basics. When it comes to your own practice, it pays to take a step back and review what matters—your core values. Every successful financial advisor I know has a strong foundation of six core values: Organization, Accountability, Objectivity, Proactivity, Education, and Partnership. These values help you help your clients achieve their goals, both financial and philosophical. They represent the foundation that helps your client’s financial house remain stable.
Take a few minutes to review these tenets, and then share them with your clients.

Core Value 1:  Organization

The best advisors help bring order to clients’ financial lives, by assisting them in getting their financial houses in order. They do this at both the “macro” level of investments (insurance, estate, taxes, etc.) and the “micro” level (household cash flow). These advisors make sure they have a complete picture and understanding of their clients’ financial lives.

Core Value 2:  Accountability

The best advisors help clients follow through on financial commitments, by working with them to prioritize their goals, show them the steps those clients need to take, and regularly review progress towards achieving them. These advisors hold their clients’ feet to the fire, and act as an accountability partner.

Core Value 3:  Objectivity

The best advisors bring insights from the outside to help clients avoid emotionally-driven decisions in important money matters. They are available to consult with clients at key moments of decision-making, doing the necessary research to ensure those clients have all the relevant information, and managing and disclosing any of a firm’s own potential conflicts of interest. These advisors always act in the best interests of their clients, even if it means a lesser commission or profit for themselves.

Core Value 4:  Proactivity

The best advisors work with clients to anticipate life transitions and life goals, and help those clients be financially prepared for them. These advisors regularly assess any potential life transitions that might be coming and create an action plan necessary to address and manage them ahead of time. They also help clients determine goals, both financial and non-financial, and determine what it will take to achieve them. If you’re a subscriber to MyFLPTools, be sure to take advantage of the transitions and goals tools available to help you and your clients.  (For information on becoming a subscriber, click here.)

Core Value 5:  Education

The best advisors explore what specific knowledge will be needed to succeed in an individual client’s situation by first thoroughly understanding that client’s situation, then providing the necessary resources to facilitate the decisions made. These advisors thoroughly explain the options and risks associated with each choice. They are committed to leaving no stone unturned when it comes to helping clients achieve their goals.

Core Value 6:  Partnership

Truly successful advisors help their clients achieve the best life possible and will work in concert with clients to make this possible. These advisors take the time to clearly understand each of their client’s background, philosophy, needs, and objectives, work collaboratively with them and on their behalf (and with their permission), and offer transparency around their own costs and compensation. These advisors are not afraid to be forthright with how they are being paid because they are confident in the advice they are providing. They have nothing to hide.
Remember: If you want to build a practice focused on having fewer clients––and having those clients for life––these six core values are essential. Remember, helping your clients achieve a strong Return on Life™ where they are living the best life possible with the money they have, is the hallmark of successful financial advisors. And these core values will help assure that both you and your clients achieve that goal.

© 2017 Mitch Anthony

Mitch Anthony advises financial services organizations throughout the world. An industry pioneer, he is a popular speaker and consultant, and the developer of MyFLPTools, a subscription-based service that provides a suite of discovery tools for financial services professionals. He and Steve Sanduski have developed the Retirement Coaching Program and ROL Advisor to help advisors build a Life-Centered Planning™ practice. A regular contributor to Financial Advisor magazine, Mitch is the author of more than a dozen books including the industry bestseller, StorySelling for Financial Advisors and The New Retirementality, now in its fourth edition. Contact Mitch at [email protected] or visit