Clients Want a Shorter To-Do List? Take a Seasonal Planning Approach

Michelle Melton, Communications Specialist
June 20, 2018

You probably have a running (and maybe even growing) list of tasks to get your house in order for the summer. It may be filled with small items that piled up over the winter months or big home-improvement projects to tackle, but chances are they all have two things in common: they’re not particularly exciting jobs, but you’ll be glad you took the time to complete them once you’re finished. The same can be true for clients getting their financial house in order.

If you haven’t paid much attention to your financial to-do list lately, a recent CNBC article, How to clean up financial clutter, offers great advice to get back on track. Like a honey-do list for advisory accounts, the authors prompt readers to review financial plans, investments, insurance coverage and estate plans. While clients may need to review those financial action items and more, it can seem daunting to tackle all in one go, especially if they have put it off for a while.

The Seasonal Approach

Ideally, clients wouldn’t let financial checklist items pile up over the seasons and years. However, even the often prescribed annual review of a financial plan can seem overwhelming for both clients and advisors. Enter the seasonal approach. At 1st Global, we coach our CPA financial advisors to use the Method 10® Seasonal Planning model, which allows advisors and clients to review all important aspects of a comprehensive financial plan throughout the year, spread across four meetings.

These quarterly, focused meetings allow clients to more easily prepare to discuss a specific aspect of their financial life and help to ensure all relevant documents are in order before moving on to the next.  This is especially helpful as successful wealth managers look at, and consult on, 10 different areas of the client’s financial situation to develop a plan that meets their client’s current needs and helps them reach their long-term goals. Method 10 Seasonal Planning groups these 10 areas — tax planning, investment planning, income protection and asset preservation, retirement planning, business planning, estate planning, insurance, education planning, special situations and debt management — into four meeting topics.

Method 10 Seasonal Planning

Tackling one financial topic at a time is not only more manageable for the client, it also leads to learning opportunities for both parties. These meetings lend themselves to educational, value-added engagement in which clients gain a better understanding of their financial plan and advisors gain valuable insight into their client’s needs.   

Regularly scheduled in-person meetings also help promote lasting client-advisor relationships. This model may be especially beneficial for clients seeking to develop a stronger partnership with their advisor. Nearly one-third of emerging affluent millennials find themselves in this group with 31 percent saying they would like more engagement with their advisors, according to the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study.  

Providing information clients want and need in a format that lends itself to open discussion is a great way to facilitate this engagement and foster trust. When hiring a financial advisor, trusting him or her to act in their best interest is the top deciding factor for investors, according to the 2018 report, The Next Generation of Trust by the CFA Institute. While important at the onset of the client-advisor relationship, cultivating trust remains crucial for clients throughout the relationship with 34 percent of investors saying trust must be constantly earned and maintained over time.

Taking the seasonal approach to offering comprehensive wealth management services can help you consistently lead meaningful conversations with your clients resulting in mutually beneficial, lasting relationships. For more information on the benefits of Method 10® Seasonal Planning and the ideology behind the technique, read The Value of a Seasonal Approach.

Method 10® is property of 1st Global Capital Corp. Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

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