Much of the work we do for clients, particularly within the financial planning realm, takes place in the background. Unlike investment performance that can be seen and easily measured, personal financial planning is a collection of disparate activities linked together by specific goals. Managing cash flows needed for retirement distributions, following up on action items from planning meetings and implementing recommendations in a cost effective manner are all among the financial planning related activities that take place mostly out of view of our clients. So, what’s the most important component of our advice to clients? With three decades of advisory relationships to draw from, I believe our most enduring value is helping clients stay on track in good times and in bad.
Choices With Context
All of us have some proclivity to panic and re-think our choices when we come to the inevitable bump along the road. To the extent we can help clients suppress this tendency to panic, the better the opportunity for us to render concrete value. Let me provide a couple of real examples. Recently, while attending a social event I ran into a client who introduced me to a friend as “the person who protects my money”. I am always interested in what clients value most and in this instance, the description points towards one of the tangible ways (protection) that we create value for clients (Webster’s defines client as “one under protection of another”). In yet another instance, a relative of a longtime client called to discuss possibly becoming a client of our firm. He said that he had watched his relatives, our clients, live the life they desired without excess anxiety about their finances. Decreased worry and anxiety are also byproducts of our advisory relationships.
Our mission is to formulate possibilities for clients based entirely on their goals, resources and what matters most to them. From there it is far easier to make good decisions since these choices now have context. Our financial planning focus helps avoid costly missteps along the way. For the main, we help clients achieve something that they usually can’t do for themselves. It’s satisfying to watch this develop. Ready for a real conversation?