Whether you call it outcomes-based financial planning, goals-based wealth management, or some other moniker, there’s no getting around the fact that it’s an essential component of being a true fiduciary. That’s because being a great steward of other people’s money is ultimately about helping each individual achieve the outcomes they dream – whether their goal is a simple comfortable retirement or a second yacht anchored in the Mediterranean.
The more I talk with advisors and their teams across the country, however, I’ve come to realize that far too often the shoemaker’s children have no shoes. If I had to hazard a guess at the percentage of advisors who have actually created a financial plan for every member of their team, I’d feel quite comfortable in putting that number at well below half. The simple truth is that we care so much about other people’s money, we often don’t pay enough attention to our own.
It is astonishing how frequently, during the course of our team development work we encounter support staff and sales assistants who have been adversely impacted financially by unexpected events that could have been either avoided or mitigated with a reasonable amount of financial guidance, support and proper planning. In one instance, a long-tenured sales assistant broke into tears as she explained that she had recently been forced to file for bankruptcy after burning through all of her savings to care for an ill parent.
Just a simple “I could really use some help here” from the assistant, or a “hey, I know you’re dealing with a lot of stress can I help you out with handling some of the financial issues you’re facing” from the advisor could have made all the difference. Had this firm, as part of the team process, required everyone to do a financial plan (in essence eating the food their restaurant serves), she never would have had to file for bankruptcy.
Physician heal thy team
Imagine if a physician’s assistant came to work feeling terrible and complaining of chest pains and shortness of breath. Do you think the physician would ignore that member of their team simply because he or she wasn’t a patient? You simply can’t be a great steward if that care doesn’t also embrace every member of your team. And by providing financial planning services to your team, you’re also sending a strong signal to your clients.
What’s one of the first thing savvy investors look at when considering a certain stock? They want to see how much skin the senior management team has in the game. What percentage of company stock is held by insiders? Are they continuing to accumulate shares or divesting themselves? It’s one of the clearest signs of how much faith leaders have in their firm. It speaks volumes about your practice, if the team members don’t want a financial plan created by the team. Should issues of confidentiality be a concern, at the very least consider engaging with another trusted advisor to create plans for each of your team members.
Coaching Questions from this article:
- How actively engaged have you been in developing financial plans for every member of your team?
- What steps will you take to ensure that comprehensive plans are in place for each individual and that those plans are periodically revisited and adjusted accordingly?
- How might you better foster personal communication between you and your team members to identify their financial goals/challenges and help address them?