Even to this age, the concept of financial advice and planning remains engulfed by myths and misconceptions.
“It is just for the rich”, “It is expensive”, “It is a job anyone can do themselves”, “Financial advisors are harbingers of fraud”.
These are just some of the statements an average man would offer when asked about their views on financial advice and why they would not opt for it.
As is the case with most myths, the ones listed above stem from misinformation and sensationalization by the media.
This article runs you through what financial advice means, who are financial advisors and what do they do, an in depth analysis of what clients actually want from their financial advisors, followed by some reasons why an average man would benefit from receiving financial advice.
8 things clients actually want from their financial advisors
Financial advice, as the name implies, is any guidance, recommendation or proposal of a financial nature in respect to investments and transactions.
It can include getting general facts and information about your finances, focused advice pertaining to a specific matter and comprehensive advice which factors in all your needs and goals to draft a personalized plan.
A financial advisor is a qualified individual who provides you with expert insight on how to handle your finances.
These individuals, acting as independent agents or as employees of a larger financial firm, provide guidance and make informed decisions on behalf of their clients; a key feature differentiating them from stock brokers who simply execute their client’s orders in the stock market. Financial advisors generally have expert knowledge in the creation of wealth and wealth protection.
Among the many services a financial advisor provides are investment management, tax planning, estate planning, debt management, cash flow analysis and the attainment of individualized financial goals.
Here is our list of 8 things that clients want from these professionals.
Though the needs of each individual vary, catering to the generalized needs of their clients is an important responsibility of financial advisors.
It is essential not only for the individual success of a person as a financial advisor, but it also has to do with debunking the myths and misconceptions that surround the concept of financial advice and improve the general public perception of the people engaged in this profession.
In no particular order, here are some of the key things clients desire in their financial advisors:
Clients want financial advisors to understand their situation.
Consider the case of Jill, a 46-year-old retail worker living on minimum wage. Jill is repulsed by the idea of investing and stock trading. All he wants is to save up enough money to send his son to college and leave some money in his retirement fund.
Compare it with the case of Mark, a 35-year-old lawyer hitting the six-digit wage figure annually. Mark loves taking risks, he’s young, independent and has nothing to lose. Mark finds the promise of greater returns very appealing.
Do you, as a financial advisor, approach both of these clients in the same way?
Do you think both these clients come with the same risk profiles?
Do you devise a financial plan, retirement and insurance plans and help set up their savings accounts in the same way?
The well-fitted suits and flashy Rolex watches are highly unlikely to impress both Jill and Mark alike if the advisor lacks the basic understanding of their situation. A client can only entrust you with their finances if you fully understand their current state of affairs and future aspirations, what they want from you today and what they’ll want from you in the years ahead.
This essential skill is complex to acquire because each client comes with their own perplex circumstances and risk profiles as evident above. However, the understanding of your client’s situation that comes from a combination of field-related knowledge and experience and is one of the sure-fire ways to gain the trust of your client.
Clients want financial advisors to have patience and translator skills.
Consider the case of Jill the retail worker again. Jill has acquired your services but does not understand you when you use terms like ‘Capital’, ‘Stock trading’, ‘Defaults’ and ‘Deficit financing’.
An advisor who can what these terms mean with empathy and patience could be just what Jill is looking for.
The ability to listen to the clients with patience, empathy and connect deeply with them is a skill they deeply value. This goes hand in hand with understanding the client’s situation.
At the same time, since the clients are very unlikely to know every technical term or detail regarding finances, an advisor must know how to translate the client’s layman words into actual feasible plans of action.
Clients want financial advisors to educate them.
Carrying on in the same theme of lack of technical knowledge that your clientele will most likely have, the educational or coaching tips you might offer will go a long way towards building a relationship of trust. Here’s why:
The interaction of a client with his or her financial advisor unquestionably has a lot to do with capital such as expenditure or investment. Since the client does not possess technical knowledge of what might happen to their income or savings, keeping them in the dark understandably leads to a relationship of mistrust.
The best countermeasure against this is by actively educating the client as to how your plan or suggestion might play out.
At the same time, overburdening your client with technical jargon and details might leave them flustered making them less likely to obtain your services or recommend you to their social circle.
Hence, keeping a balance between the flow of information is an essential skill that clients look for in their financial advisors.
Clients want their assets to be respected.
All clients, whether they be the likes of Jill or Mark, eventually want a high level of respect, especially if the client is insecure about his or her financial standing.
Not every client an advisor will encounter will belong to the financial elite and one of the main reasons why people are reluctant to hire advisors is because they feel they don’t have enough assets or money.
Advisors need to interact with their client in such a way that the clients feel their assets, however small, do carry weight so as to remove this misconception.
Clients want their advisors to be accessible, punctual and have a keen sense of integrity.
This goes without saying as these requirements would be expected of any true professional of any field, but especially when it comes to financial advice, these can make or break the client’s trust.
With integrity, an advisor is able to offer honest and unbiased suggestions which is what the clients deeply value.
Clients want advisors to solve their problems, not pitch their own products.
With a better understanding of their clientele, financial advisors are expected to be problem solvers especially when it comes to tax management, investment opportunities and insurance plans.
Clients want a better and stable life for themselves and their family and they expect their advisors to come up with solutions that lead to this possibility.
At the same time, the practice of pitching their own or their company’s products can put off clients a great deal, since it shows the lack of integrity and unbiased advice.
Clients desire safety over net returns.
A 2017 Natixis survey of individual investors in the United States discovered that when compared with investment returns, clients placed more emphasis on the safety of their already existing capital.
Though individualized needs may vary, it is important to consider that not every client demands flashy investment opportunities and the promise of greater returns.
Clients want a deeper relationship with their advisors.
In many instances, clients may come to their advisor for suggestions outside the technical field. Recommendations for a doctor, a car dealer or any other professional for that instance may secure the relationship an advisor has with his client leading to greater satisfaction on both sides.
Similarly, frequent communication with their advisor, particularly through emails, is another criterion that clients want their financial advisors to meet.
Why you might need financial advice?
As evident by the multitude of services that are grouped under the rubric of financial advice, financial advice can come in handy for an average man for a plethora of reasons; the most important being investment and savings.
Streamlining investments with the right choices and calculated risks are some of the biggest benefits of proper financial advice. It can ensure you only invest in high liquidity assets providing a major source of contingency funds and financial savings. Another reason why financial advice is essential has to do with the management of income and cash flow.
The individualized guidance a good financial advisor will equip you with will ensure all your needs and those of your family members are met adequately without going above and beyond on expenditure. Needless to say, family security and an improved standard of living go hand in hand with expert financial advice.
Other reasons cited as the benefits of financial advice include the management of debt, tackling inflation, setting the asset allocation right, getting the optimal financial insurance, improvement of the general financial understanding of clients and overall improving financial stability.
Unlike the myths mentioned above, neither is the service tailored just for the rich nor is it expensive. It is not a skill a layman with no financial background should expect himself to execute.
To summarize, the peace of mind that comes with the idea of having your income, savings and investments secure is a major selling point of why every individual should get dedicated financial advice.
Since the profession goes largely unnoticed, it becomes a major responsibility of financial advisors to try and cater to the needs of their clientele with integrity, a holistic approach and a great deal of technical knowledge.
By tending to the various needs and wants described above, financial advisors can leave no stone unturned in improving the satisfaction of their clientele, removing the general myths and misconceptions prevalent in the public meanwhile ensuring their own personal growth as a financial advisor.