Co-Creating Our Clients Future

David Stone |

We have started our journey towards providing our clients with their own personalized experience with us.  Not surprisingly, we have already encountered surprises.  The first was a time delay due to a death of a very close and dear family member, my Mother-in-law, Dorothy.  She had a very big impact on me and my family and she will be sorely missed.  As a result, we are 6 weeks behind schedule, since Dorothy was at an out of town hospital which caused us to miss significant time in the office.  But we are ready to re-engage with the process.

What we have been able to start is the interactive financial planning meeting with our clients.  The pleasant surprise is how receptive the clients have been to it.  Every one of our clients who have experienced our new interactive process gave us very positive feedback about it.  I am not surprised there was positive feedback, but it was unanimous!  How often do you introduce a new concept to a group of people and everyone provides this type of feedback?  I understand some of the clients may be saying one thing and feeling another, but honestly I didn’t sense deception from anyone.  Of course we’ve only gone through this with a small sample of our clients.

Obviously the purpose of the interactive meeting is to involve the clients more than ever before in the financial planning meeting by having “conversations” instead of just going over documents, discussing life updates, and answering questions.  These conversations are naturally all financial plan related, but targeted to the softer side of financial planning.  The topics range from clients expectations and concerns with retirement, to discussing fluctuations in the stock market and how they would be affected by it.  However, where the clients really get engaged is when we are able to determine the clients’ probability of success of reaching their goals right before their eyes.  If the clients’ are falling short of reaching their goals we work together to get a success percentage they find acceptable.  When I state we work together, this means I engage the assistance of the clients to determine which course of action is most palatable to them to rectify any goal shortfall.  In the case of a retirement shortfall, are they willing to work longer, invest more, reduce their retirement income, invest more aggressively, or any of the combination of these actions?  They tell me what they are willing to do, and then I enter their course of action into the financial planning software.  Together we see the probability of success change to according to the new parameter we entered and see how much closer they would get to reaching their goal.  We continue this process until the probability of success is acceptable to them.  For the first time ever, I feel the clients are taking ownership of their financial plans which hopefully will inspire them to implement the recommendations more succinctly than in the past.  It is pretty amazing to co-create the financial plans with our clients, as I feel it will certainly enhance our relationship.


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