Financial Planning Archives - Genivity
How Advisors Can Leverage Tech to Improve Client Relationships

How Advisors Can Leverage Tech to Improve Client Relationships

Whether you’re new to the world of financial advising of if you’ve been in it for a while, there’s one thing that’s going to change how you do your job: technology. Maybe you’ve already seen it happen or maybe you hit the ground running with the latest tech, but the speed at which these tools evolve means that everyone will need to stay on top of this dynamic field.

Why embracing technology is critical

You may like to keep things simple and avoid more tech or you may be an early adopter and be ready to go all in on it. But regardless of how you feel about the world of technology, one thing is for certain: you need to utilize it for your clients sake.

Even if your clients aren’t big into the world of technology, that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from its innovations. Everything from bookkeeping to birthday reminders on your calendar can help you build a strong and trusted relationship with your clients. Likewise, solutions such as Genivity’s HALO assessment can give you a leg up on advising your clients without them having to wade into the world of tech on their own. Technological advancements can be invisible to the client, yet highly effective, saving your tech-adverse clients time and money all while delivering the results and products they are expecting.

Using technology to set yourself apart

For your technology-oriented clients, showing that you’re on the cutting edge can be a huge win for setting yourself apart from the competition. Sending electronic meeting notices, sharing files over secure web tools, and even simple things like video chats can make building trust a lot easier. The convenience that comes with using some of these solutions shows that you’re thinking about the client first.

Todd Gentry, a CFP from Synergy Wealth Solutions, makes it clear that thinking about the client first and building trust is key to growth and survival in this industry.

This is a relationship business,  FinTech should serve to enhance the existing relationship and quality of advice to create a robust client experience. It will allow you to be absolutely referable and be the highest value advisor relationship your client has. Established producers/firms should consider connecting with “early adopters”, this serves to build out your continuity plan as well as enhance the value of your business, guard against lost clients to tech savvy practitioners, and make clients into advocates for your firm and the team.

Regardless of how you utilize technology in your practice today, it’s clear that it will continue to play a more prevalent role in the future. You should be researching ways that you can make your practice more tech-friendly and look for ways to implement new solutions in the future. Your clients will be expecting it and your drive to provide them with the best solutions available will build trust and stregthen your client relationships. 

The Trouble with Social Security

The Trouble with Social Security

At some point in the last year, you’ve probably read an article on Social Security. Whether it’s a politician’s plan to “fix” it, or a wealth guru’s take on what’s going to happen to it in the coming year, the message is clear, Social Security isn’t as reliable as it once was. As a financial advisor, it’s critical that you communicate to your clients that Social Security alone won’t be enough, especially with the shift from retirement planning to longevity planning. 

Social Security woes


Social Security, while great in theory, is facing problems from all different angles. One of the most significant is the payer/recipient ratio. In 1940 it was roughly 159:1, in 2013 it was about 3:1. With population on the decline in the U.S., it’s likely only to get worse. There are other problems as well and as a financial advisor, you’re in the know about a lot of aspects of retirement, but have you communicated those to your clients?

Many retirees are planning on using Social Security as the main pillar of their retirement financing, however, it probably won’t be enough. This is especially true given the changing landscape of healthcare costs and implementations.

How to solve for your clients’ Social Security deficit

Genivity’s HALO assessment can help mitigate some of the concerns around the shortfalls of Social Security. If a client can have a better expectation of what kind of care and how much said care will cost, they can plan around those expenses while taking their fixed Social Security income into account. 

The HALO assessment gives clients advanced knowledge allowing them to potentially purchase insurance policies around things like long term care or paying for in-home care. It also allows them to make preparation to their living spaces and care network while their still mobile and relatively healthy, mitigating the need to spend their Social Security on maintenance issues.

The old adage “knowledge is power” couldn’t be more true when it comes to talking about the state of your clients’ longevity plan. Having conversations now and making preparations for all sources of income will give them the best chance of enjoying their retirement and finishing out life on their terms. 

 

The Reality of Retirement for your Clients

The Reality of Retirement for your Clients

We often times see retirement portrayed as a relaxing, care-free period of one’s life. Commercials show jovial retirees sitting in bathtubs on mountains, going on cruises, or spending time with family. While this certainly can be a reality (minus the bathtubs) for some people, the reality of retirement for the majority of Americans is starkly different.

What do your clients want their retirement to look like?


While it’s certainly an exciting time for your clients, you need to convey preparedness and expectations given their financial situation. The question is: how exactly do you do that?

There are a few tips you can give your clients on how to retire with confidence. The main one being “save early and save often.” However, even the best intentioned clients may not be putting enough away to retire. Spending habits are often hard to break if they’re already accustomed to a certain lifestyle. This is fine if they have a proper understanding of what their retirement will entail. The tough clients are the ones who want to spend now and have it all in retirement.

When the reality is tougher than expected

One Redditor posted her experience with parents who failed to save enough. Her account is a sobering purview into many American’s lives who are nearing retirement. Baby Boomers who failed to save enough for retirement are now hooked on a lifestyle they cannot afford. Does this remind you of any of your clients? Hopefully not, but its not unreasonable to think that someone with a skewed view of their golden years will walk through your doors before you yourself retire.

It’s important, as always, to treat these people with dignity. Often times they are simply following a societal outline of how to live their life. They think they are doing the right thing or are spending in accordance with what’s expected of them. Addressing their finances for retirement can be a very unpleasant wake up call.

Keep in mind that most of them often have no way to rectify the situation, either. Work with them to come up with a realistic plan of what their retirement will look like and try to convince them that some retirement (even if a lifestyle adjustment is necessary) is better than none at all.

There will be a glut of retirees facing this reality in the coming years. Your job is simply to work with them inside of the financial confines they have put themselves in and help them plan accordingly. Giving people a path to retirement should be a rewarding experience in and of itself, even if it’s difficult.

Client Engagement Styles: What you need to know

Client Engagement Styles: What you need to know

If there’s one thing that the financial planning world has in abundance, it’s advisors. There are plenty of large firms out there willing to take over the duties in managing people’s wealth along with new and improved AI-driven trading and financial planning technologies.

Set yourself apart from competitors

You know by now that these competitors have nothing on a real financial planning advisor. The benefits that come from sitting down with a person that you have a relationship with to figure out what their next steps should be in managing their assets is invaluable. You know this, but that doesn’t mean the clients you have, do.

While results often speak louder than words, that doesn’t mean you should never address client engagement. It’s important to understand how your clients want to talk about their wealth and in what ways they will engage with topics pertaining to it. Cracking the code of how your clients like to communicate is a simple way to potentially land more business, but more importantly, gain their trust. 

Understanding client engagement styles

 

In a world that is becoming increasingly untrustworthy, trust is the one commodity that can make you rise above the competition. Knowing how your clients like to engage about their future proves that you’re thinking about them, putting their wants and needs at the top of the list, and that you will be there for the long haul to make sure their assets are protected into the future.

Understanding your client engagement will make your job easier as well. After decoding their style, you’ll get a sense of how much communication they want from you, where and when you should put your nose into their financial business, and how to operate in more intimate situations. This can take some of the intimidation out of those heavy conversation like end-of-life care or what to do after the death of a spouse.

Everyone wins when you put in the time and effort necessary for understanding engagement styles. While it may take a little bit of time or force you to step outside your comfort zone, having happy clients that trust you to manage their wealth effectively will be a reward in and of itself. 

You can learn more about the three core client engagement styles here and how to implement them in your own practice. 

The Role of the Advisor for Aging Clients

The Role of the Advisor for Aging Clients

There are certain professions that come with high levels of trust. Doctors, Lawyers, and even barbers need to be trusted by their clients to make sure the outcomes are positive. As a financial advisor, you’re right up there with the most trusted of professions. After all, what could be more important than managing assets and making sure there’s enough money to last into retirement?

How the advisor’s role is changing


Baby Boomers will soon make up the largest cohort of retirees in the nation. They will also be the wealthiest members of society and that wealth will need oversight. The role of the financial advisor is changing from simple “consultant for hire” to a member of close circle of trusted individuals.

In situations where you have high net worth retirement accounts, you may find yourself answering questions and consulting on situations that you never dreamed of. Wearing the hat of not only financial advisor, but other roles that deal with family, health, money and all the details that come with it.

As your clients age, serious life events, familial issues, medical problems, are certainly in store for you. While these undoubtedly can be intimidating, remember: make decisions for your clients as if it were your own money. How would you like your finances handled in tricky situations? While this may not be perfect for every situation, it’s a good rule of thumb to build and retain trust with clients and their families.

Build relationships with the family

Spouses, children, friends and other family members are relying on you to make sure that their loved one’s assets are around for the intended recipients to enjoy or even survive off of. It’s no small task nor are they decisions to be made lightly. Who knows how many people your management will affect?

It’s becoming strikingly evident that the role of the financial advisor for aging clients is the role of trusted confidant. Someone who can advise on multiple situations and understand how they affect wealth and happiness in the sunset years, while understanding the impacts on those in their will and other recipients of their money. Building trusted relationships with your client and their family will be a pivotal part of your practice moving forward. Make sure you’re up to the task of taking on such responsibilities before you find yourself in too deep.

Do you have an estate plan? Most Americans don’t.

Do you have an estate plan? Most Americans don’t.

No one likes to envision their loved ones lives after they’ve departed. It’s unpleasant, stressful and at times, emotionally draining. Your clients are no different. Chances are they’ve been avoiding taking action on how their assets will be dispersed in the event of their death. They’re not alone. In fact, over half of Americans do not have a will.

Why estate planning matters

Estate planning is critical in the financial health of any individual or family. Knowing how their wealth will be distributed should they pass, has no bearing on the person who died, but is a great service to those who are left behind.

Most of your clients will have a (or several) recipients in mind. If it’s not family, then likely a friend or close acquaintance. This is important to convey, because without a will, assets can be held up in litigation for a long time and will ultimately be determined by the legal system. If there is an estranged family member, without a will, they can make a legitimate claim to some of the assets in certain situations even if that was never the intention of the person that is gone.

Your role as an advisor

Many people, from all walks of life have had long battles over wealth because of improper wills or the failure of the deceased party to put one in place. Often times, these are heart-wrenching situations because there is no do-over and there is no second chance. Once your client is dead, that’s it, whatever legal framework they have at the time of death will be what is used: a sobering thought for the underprepared. Ask your clients if they have given this serious thought as it is nothing to take lightly.

Simply put, a will is in place to make sure your client’s wealth is protected and distributed to the people and institutions they care about as a final gift. Encouraging your clients to put a will in place is, in no uncertain terms, your responsibility as a financial advisor. They are paying you to manage their wealth whether they are alive or dead. Make sure you do them the service of addressing uncomfortable issues like their death because most people don’t want to. 

Ensuring that your client’s have an estate plan is also a key component of creating a trusted relationship. When you show that you have their best interests in mind – beyond the time that they will be your client – you show that they are more to you than a number. You can also use this time to discuss their charitable giving and trusts. 

Helping your client think about all aspects of their wealth, including estate planning, investing, and health ensures that your value as an advisor goes beyond products.