I’ve recently had the pleasure to meet Dick Wagoner, a sage in the financial planning industry. Dick talks about clients living in a micro-economy but planners want to work with them in a macro sense.
I agree with this idea. Our clients do live in a micro-economy. When their investment accounts go down because of a bear market, they are often affected.
Depending on where our clients are in their life, a reduction in account values could change choices the client has available. Retirement might be put on hold, college plans for children might have to change or even lifestyle changes might have to be made.
We need to understand that client’s investments are very personal. What happens to them will affect what our client can do with their life. Clients don’t care that markets come back. They do care about what they can afford today and what plans they should make about tomorrow.
Financial planning is not just about the numbers. I find that planning is about hope and dreams. It’s what we want for our lives and what we can afford to do in our lives. Sometimes we’re too conservative and other times we’re too aggressive in what we want for our future.
Planning is not an absolute answer. It’s a directional compass that we can provide. We can’t guarantee a financial plan will come out. We can work with clients to help make directional adjustments that help move them forward.
Think locally, but understand global decisions. Our clients don’t need to understand the technical side of investing. They do need to understand investment basics because decisions they make will affect the micro life we all live in.
It’s not about standard deviation, alpha or beta. It’s about knowing that there are good times and bad times in the market. Flexibility is important. Understanding what’s important for our clients helps us provide advice about adjustments they might want to make.
From the clients point of view the big picture is only important in the way it affects their lives. In many respects those of us in the planning profession have the opportunity to act as guides.
We need to remember that our clients don’t think in fifty-year time horizons. Most times the horizon is five years. It’s making sure that we understand and work in this time frame that makes for a successful engagement.
What are your thoughts on your economic life? Do you spend enough time thinking about changes you might have to make on micro level? Please either contact me at Jpatrick@stage2planning.com or click here to set a time to talk.
We’ve put together a special report on the Financial Life Of A Private Business Owner. We’re sure that you’ll enjoy this report and it will help you think about some of the important issues in your financial life. To get this special report, click on the button below.