Except when it is not OK! When planning a Family Legacy for Financial Wellness, the first person you should think about is yourself. Really! If you do not plan for you, there may be no Family Legacy. And thinking about yourself may include retirement planning or not. It may be Wealth Planning instead. Whichever route you decide to go, there are some regrets that could affect you that can be avoided.
- Not investing or planning early enough!
- Making ill-informed decisions!
- Investing too heavily in one stock, including an employer’s stock!
- Choosing a Traditional IRA or 401k rather than a Roth!
- Taking Social Security too early!
- Focusing only on retirement aspects…
As a preparation for beginning Empower Excellence and direct work with clients on how to make decisions including how to choose a financial professional, I was in the financial industry for almost two decades. I know what clients think when they choose not to have a conversation with their professional. It is not that they do not want the conversations that would help them escape the above listed regrets; it is that their comfort levels even asking questions were so low!
And that comfort level is why clients are with their professionals: they want the professionals to be the experts, to do what is right for the client. But advisors can be designing plans and recommending investments without really knowing what their clients are thinking. I do a lot of writing about mental energy. It contributes to longevity, peace of mind, and peace in building a legacy for their families. Clients need to be able to share their deepest dreams and concerns about their future. In my blog tomorrow, I will share really for the first time why my concern for clients led me to take on one of the major investment companies when they began to put the bottom line out front of everything else including the clients! For now, let’s have the conversation about the type of conversations clients want with their advisors.
This is so major: Talk to me in plain English. When I use the tagline “Make Money Simple”, this is reflecting my practice in the industry and today when I am working to simplify a client’s relationship with money. Advisors need to have their conversations in plain and simple English, or the language of the client. Clients are not impressed by the “lingo” as my father would have called it, that advisors use to not only meet compliance requirements but also to show their level of sophistication too often. Break it down to the simplest elements and what it means for the client now and into the future. Review presentations, put them in writing. Yes, that means you have to go through compliance; go through compliance but work with compliance to adapt your presentation into simple terms! Please! If clients understand your verbal presentation and have the written version to go home and review it to develop questions for you, the client will know more and so will you as their advisor. This removes the “sales” decision that many professionals seek at the initial meeting; that is best for the client even if it is not the most lucrative for the professional. The client may decide that this is not the route they want to go; they are not comfortable with it. Back to your drawing board but with more information on what the client needs and wants.
That is the second conversation, tell the client what you see as right for them, but do not sell them. Prepare them, as I do in my “Choosing Your Financial Professional” program to talk your language, to share their needs and concerns honestly, and to learn “How” to make the right financial decision for them. The most empowering thing you can do for a client is to empower them to make the decision; they may say they want you to make the decision, but they really feel their power once they learn they can do money!
An area that took my clients by surprise when I initially mentioned it is “longevity”. But I expected their reaction, and I went into the conversation sharing that I intended to live to be at last 104, and then I explained all of my reasons. With that as a reference point, honest discussion began. Talk about their family history, talk about their real view of their plan for their life, either retiring or beginning a new chapter(s) for their life. Then the discussion for health care concerns and planning, practical terms for funeral planning and more can occur smoothly either at that time or at a future meeting: it is that important.
This conversation also leads to one of the most important conversations that still does not happen appropriately with women clients whether they are married, widowed, single, or divorced. Men professionals, and sadly some women professionals, are still addressing the male in the picture–fathers, husbands, brothers, or sons–instead of developing a real relationship with the female client. Today with Empower Excellence, while I have had a good many male clients, I am asked if I focus on women. Yes and no is my answer. Women have the capability and desire to make their decisions about their future and their money. In today’s society, it is a sad story when women clients finally leave their professional because they have been ignored “mentally or emotionally” in their relationship with an advisor. When they do leave, when they have an opportunity to learn what I do, they do see what a relationship with a female financial professional can become in their future. And remember, women tend to outlive men, and many times that is when they leave the advisor who preferred to work with the male in their lives.
Have the real conversation about income, both now and when they stop working for whatever choice they make moving forward. I use a spending plan that currently reflects what they have as income and what they spend, and then we move to what the next phase of their financial life will look like. That is where the gap becomes very apparent, the word budget stops being used, and reality becomes the next step. Clients need to be told if their income and expenses do not match. Better to address it now then when they run out of money.
And finally, a discussion that is needed is on Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. When I was with my last firm, we were told not to discuss it BECAUSE IT WAS TOO COMPLICATED. Really? If it was too complicated for trained professionals, how complicated is it for your clients?
What I do today as a financial professional outside of the traditional industry is to Make Money Simple for my clients with many programs in plain and simple ways that includes my extensive background in banking and financial planning. It is in simple language, in conversations that determine what the client needs to make it through either a one time situation or the rest of their lives. It is done to make the client as knowledgebale as possible when dealing with the professionals need to create a FAMILY LEGACY FOR FINANCIAL WELLNESS beginning with them.
Delivered in person or online “HOW TO CHOOSE A FINANCIAL PROFESSSIONAL” is geared to the client. Have a conversation with me or look over the online program https://tinyurl.com/yamak75h in my Empower Excellence Transformational Moments school.
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LinkedIn: Janice Marie Litterst
Email/Phone: email@example.com 440-670-2252