Financial Literacy

Teaching First

Educating the client is the key to success as a financial advisor. It isn’t product knowledge or “selling” a client on a particular product, according to Frank Marano, president of Marano Consulting, Inc., based in Danbury, Conn.

“Instead, success is teaching clients about budgeting, helping them track where their money goes, helping them understand the stock market and educating them regarding the impact long-term care could have on their retirement savings,” he said.

“Teaching is our issue,” he said, emphasizing, “It is our approach with clients.”

Frank adheres to the “old school” methods, as he calls them, of visiting with clients in their homes instead of conducting most of the advisor/client conversations either online or in the office. He believes that he gets a more accurate look at his client’s life when spending time with them in their homes. 

He doesn’t limit his visits to an hour in and out, either. He has been known to spend as much as five hours with a client – if that is what is needed to get a complete picture of that client’s financial situation – as well bringing that client’s financial literacy to a point at which Marano believes he or she is competent enough to make appropriate choices.

“What I feel is lacking in the financial field is advisors listening to their clients to the fullest,” Frank said. “Clients are most comfortable in their own homes. When we go there and sit with them, we can view their home life and their lifestyles. This provides us with much more information about who they are. It is much easier to then put together a customized plan that best suits them.”

Frank knows this approach works. He watched as his clients – each with a customized plan – weathered the Great Recession with little or no losses. By using a customized plan for each client that not only takes their individual goals and needs into account, but also makes these goals the focus of planning, Frank knows he is doing all he can to protect his client’s wealth. Watching that protection occur during the Great Recession only further solidified his commitment to not using a “cookie cutter” approach with any of his clients.

“We manage each client as an individual,” he said. “My main objective is to take my time, do each plan correctly and be responsive immediately to any necessary adjustments. All the while through this process, I am educating the client so that he or she knows not only what I am doing, but why I am doing it.”

Learn more about Marano Consulting, Inc., online at: www.maranoconsulting.com

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