Life-Centered Financial Planning Essentials: The Nexus of Advisor-Client Relationships and Dialogue
What should the nexus of the advisor-client relationship and dialogue be? Is there a more profound anchoring point aside from the money mechanics—investing, rebalancing, and reviewing—that has been sold in the past? Although these mechanics will always be a part of the process, they are no longer central to it. The chief asset under management is the person in front of you, the story of what they hope to accomplish, and your ability to help them.
In financial planning, we could juxtapose the binaries of the advisory relationship as:
- A story of numbers
- A number of stories
With number 1, technology can pretty much do the job. The real value is in the human aspect of the advice and planning process in your clients’ stories: where they came from, how they got here, and where they hope to go.
Knowledge and integration of these stories give their financial plan a visceral resonance and exponentially raises the probability of follow-through on their part. Why? Because when a client’s story is the central context of the planning process, they see themselves in the proposed plan. And when they see themselves in the proposed plan, they commit to it—and become a client for life.
Remember, if a plan doesn’t resonate with a client, they won’t act on it. With life-centered financial planning, the central question is not “Do you have enough money?” That is a tertiary question at best.
One way to help your clients define what improving their life looks like is to ask this question:
“Several years from now, what does your life have to look like for you to feel a sense of well-being, that you’re making progress and have the freedom to live life the way you want?”
What you’ll hear are the values that are most important to someone—and you can start planning with those in mind. What you won’t hear is, “I beat the S&P 500 by 100 basis points.”
The soft skills in planning represent the hard stuff, but they also represent the value proposition that will set you apart from everyone else. Planning is all about human connection; and that’s something none of us should ever forget. It’s also where the real money is.
Only after you understand your client do you earn the right to create a financial plan for them.
Learn more in Life Centered Financial Planning: How to Deliver Value that Will Never be Undervalued, available at local or online bookstores as well as at mitchanthony.com.