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I think many advisors miss the point when they work with their clients.  Advisors sometimes have beliefs that their clients are different than they are, or they don’t really think about whether the conversations they start would resonate with themselves if they were the client.

I think this is true when the estate planning conversation turns to leaving a legacy.  Insurance agents, estate planning attorneys, and financial advisors all are trained to speak with their clients about the legacy they will be leaving as a result of the estate planning work they do.  In my experience, both personally and professionally, clients are significantly more interested in making a difference than leaving a legacy.

I have yet to see a client who’s really excited about what’s going to happen after they die.  They are interested in seeing their family succeed, their community growing stronger and their businesses working well.  Those are all activities that happen when one is alive.

If we spend a little more time thinking about how we can help our clients make a difference today we would likely be serving them better. 

I know I think about making a difference and I get excited.  When I think about leaving a legacy that doesn’t excite me nearly as much.  We could help our clients if we were to ask some of the following questions about making a difference today:

  • Would you like to hear some ideas about how to teach your children great money skills?
  • Have you thought about the difference your making today in the lives of those who are important?
  • Is making a difference important to you?
  • What about making a difference is important to you?

Questions along these lines talk about things that can happen today.  We as advisors need to help our clients develop strategies that can help them see the result of the work they do. 

Instead of concentrating on legacy, maybe we should work on managing risk and then helping clients achieve a difference.  What do you think?

Josh Patrick

I’ve written a special report on the financial life of a private business owner.  This report fits in with helping owners focus on what’s important in their life today and not just what they’re going to leave after they’re gone.  Click on the button below to get this report.


Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through NFP Securities, Inc. (NFPSI), Member FINRA/SIPC. Stage 2 Planning Partners and NFPSI are not affiliated.

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Topics: advisor to advisor, communication, wealth management, Legacy Planning

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