The Power of Persistence

Pushing for power of attorney during a Pandemic

Slightly more than half of American adults have a power of attorney (POA) in place, according to a recent article from the AARP, with 83 percent of people over age 72 having this important document compared with 41 percent of millennials. Sadly, chances are many of the American victims and their families of COVID-19 did not have someone in place who was entrusted with financial decision-making.

As with most businesses this past year, the FFR Wealth Team of Northern Kentucky had to be pandemically nimble. The firm, like most financial advisors, pivoted proactively to helping clients over the phone or with more video-based calls and webinars. And it used such outreach to zero in on POA needs.

FFR Wealth Team’s clients range in age up to 98. “Initially, some clients were not as comfortable doing a video call, so part of the pivoting has been to reach out more diligently to their power of attorney, or their trusted contact,” Shelley Funke Frommeyer, CFP®, CEO, Founder and Wealth Advisor of FFR Wealth Team, told Advisors Magazine in a recent interview. “And it’s actually been a real positive to get so many of our aging clients more communicative with their family members that are going to help them with some of these financial decisions,” she added.

Funke Frommeyer estimates that the firm has been able to accelerate by years the typical timeframe for getting trusted contacts and POAs to join its phone or video calls. “It’s important to us to keep the clients’ priorities moving forward. Just in case a health situation arises, we need a financial power of attorney to authorize a clients need for additional redemptions. We’ve been especially persistent about this,” she said.

And then, as part of those virtual visits and phone calls with a trusted contact, the FFR Wealth Team can more easily discuss detailed information, in order to serve a client’s best interest. For example, net worth can be summarized, banking information known and more.

Shelly418“Many clients simply don’t share such information with the person who they may think of as their power of attorney, or trusted contact,” Funke Frommeyer explained, “So this pandemic has helped us get more clients to think harder about who they really trust, have the necessary family conversations, and then put that information in a secure, digital format.”

A secure, website-based vault contains such information that is collectively known as the client experience. The client can log in, and while they cannot sell or trade, it presents a financial dashboard.

“This allows clients to inform their family members completely about what they have and where,” Funke Frommeyer added, “and it can allow us, as advisors, to communicate more completely or concisely with their trusted people, using that digital client experience.”

In fact, one upside of the pandemic is that digital and technological elements in the field of financial services have accelerated tenfold in the past year alone, she noted.
The pandemic also afforded the firm to put its core values to the test, as change happened quickly. Client relationships are built on education and trust, Funke Frommeyer emphasized, pointing to the importance of accountability, persistence and education. “Being a lifelong learner is one of our core values, as well as being positive, respectful and family-oriented,” she said.

Toward that end, the firm publishes for clients a weekly newsletter to keep them familiar with the SECURE Act, The CARES Act, and so forth.

“And because of this pandemic, some of those changes have been coming about rapidly,” Funke Frommeyer noted, adding, “We’ll provide clients not with an exorbitant amount of information because we want it to be digestible and not overwhelming, but to continue keeping them informed and feeling confident. And we’re also conveying that we’re taking it all into consideration, and will reach out proactively to make adjustments if needed.”

Client Experience DashboardThe firm is also offering 30-45-minute client webinars, which were in-person up until the last nine months or so. Using Zoom video-conferencing or just with phone calls, FFR Wealth continues to keep clients up to speed on subjects ranging from Medicare and HIPAA to estate planning.

Overall, the firm takes a holistic approach to financial planning. Funke Frommeyer describes the typical client as that person who starts dealing with enough financial complexity to the point where they feel the need to bring in some help.

“Sometimes that occurs right around age 50, but sometimes that occurs a little earlier when a young person around 35 is widowed, or it occurs when a person at 60 is widowed, but they’ve been sort of a do-it-yourself up until then,” she said.

Clearly, it’s often at the time of a significant change in a person’s life. “Yet, they don’t just want us to manage their money. Only about 20 percent of our clients want that or just want a certain return on investment,” Funke Frommeyer added. “Most want us to provide an overall financial review that factors in all of their assets.”

There is no investment minimum at FFR Wealth. Rather, the firm has a minimum financial planning fee of $2,500. For that fee, advisors will guide an initial client through their value system, learning a client’s dreams and goals, and then show clearly what can be solved to give clients some comfort and clarity around their current situation. Happening shortly thereafter is the discussion about whether or not FFR Wealth then manages the client’s money.

For more information on FFR Wealth Team, visit:

Securities offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through CWM, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Cetera Advisor Networks LLC is under separate ownership from any other named entity. FFR Wealth Team – 50 E. Rivercenter Blvd. STE 1225, Covington KY, 41011.

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