- Thursday 11 July 2019
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In most walks of life, your arrival into the office or shop of a service provider clearly identifies a need that you have. If you arrive at the reception of a car showroom, it’s probably because you need a new car. If you ring an accountancy practice, you need some tax returns work done.
But if you make contact with a Financial Advisor, what’s your motivation for doing so?
The very first question I ask to a potential client is, ‘what brought you to us’, and I can tell you that there is a very wide spectrum of answers. For some people it is very clear and concise – ‘I need a particular product or advice on a specific item’. For many more however, and this is even more common since we evolved from identifying ourselves as a ‘broker’ to a Financial Planning Firm, the response is vague, shifting and often hesitant.
As we delve into this question at our first meeting, we learn quickly that there are issues happening at multiple levels for most people. It starts to resemble peeling the layers of an onion, (thankfully it usually, but not always, involves less tears!)
The outer layer is usually a task focused matter. Most commonly, people either have money in cash that they can see eroding in value, or have investment/pension funds that are simply not performing. Other ‘high-level’ reasons include taking out a policy of some sort –insurance and savings are common.
The middle layer is mostly about goals. You tell us that the reason for the investment, savings or insurance is to ensure a particular financial target is reached. These cover long term aspirations like a comfortable retirement, medium term ambitions such as educational funding for children, or short term needs like protecting your income in the event of illness.
The core layer is about values. This can often be couched in quite emotive language – fear, ambition, even anger are all common. Our financial goals are most often a product of our background, experiences and inherent personality traits, so ensuring that they align with your belief system is not always straightforward.
It is not always necessary to bring you all the way to the core layer at the first meeting we have, but any Real Financial Planner will identify those values very quickly and ensure they remain on the table no matter what the goals or tasks to hand might be.
From our experience, clients who are at least aware of these layers & motivations get much more out of their engagement with a Financial Planning Firm like ourselves. It doesn’t mean they have to be the focus of our conversation, at least initially, but recognising them is key to a successful outcome for all.
To make the process more understandable we’ve created tools to help potential clients learn more about themselves and in the process get more from any financial advisor they use.
On our recently launched website we have the MoneyValues™ Assessment, where you answer questions about your core belief systems around money. The purpose of this tool is not to undermine or dismiss the initial reason you came to us – that is as valid as ever. Instead it simply arms you with some personal reflection that will make the whole process more meaningful.
At Curran Futures we are here for you, no matter what it was that brought you to our door. In my next article I’m going to address the second key question we present all potential clients….
‘How Do You Think We Can Help?’