Honest discussions build relationships

The expertise to navigate the sometimes uncomfortable discussions of how finances intersect with real life is one that all financial advisors ought to have – and these discussions should be a routine part of their advisory process. Many financial advisors, however, are product-focused rather than honed in on understanding the client’s financial dreams and aspirations.

For David Volkman, managing director, Certified Wealth Strategist® and Accredited Investment Fiduciary® with Granite Ridge Wealth Advisors, LLC, and First Allied Securities, Inc. located in New York City, having those difficult conversations with clients might not necessarily be the “favorite” aspect of his work, but it is where his skill set shines and it is the most satisfying component of his work.

volkman300x400“Being completely honest with people is where I can help them the most,” Volkman said.

For example, a professional couple came to him to discuss retirement options. The wife was an accountant and thus Volkman initially thought that perhaps their retirement plans were already on track.

That was the furthest from the truth for them.

He had the fiduciary duty of conducting a sincere heart-to-heart conversation and then say things that would provide a bit of a wake-up call to the client. He had to tell them that despite their prodigious income, the household spending habits were such that their future retirement goals would not likely be achievable without a significant change in personal spending expectations, simply based on their investments not being large enough to accommodate it.

The couple was not expecting to hear that kind of straight forward advice from Volkman, but it led them to a financial epiphany to consider a different path. They spent the next many months mulling it over before committing to following a plan proposed by Volkman that included his original recommendations. They also explored what motivated the uncontrollable spending even though they knew in their hearts that their current habits would not help them achieve their long-term financial goals.

“Many financial advisors would not feel comfortable delving into such difficult topics with a client as it exposes a very raw nerve for most and those types of conversations are typically surrounded by emotion and fear,” Volkman said. “It is a tough, but necessary discussion to facilitate, yet it feels completely natural for me to engage in these challenging conversations, as that is likely where the hardest work for a client resides.”

His philosophy originates from a feeling that people want leadership and advice they can have confidence in. Today’s marketplace contains so much conflicting information, that a good intentioned investor could be swayed into an irrevocable and costly financial decision if not properly advised. Volkman’s perspective on financial decision making is one based on independently investigating the pros and cons of any decision and logically helping the client make a choice that is best suited to them, even if that choice is changing nothing in their financial lives at that moment in time.

Volkman operates his practice with a straightforward, fee-based fiduciary style process, in which the advisor puts the client’s needs first in the relationship and seeks a comprehensive holistic approach to managing their financial affairs, without the coloration of any conflicts of interest.

Today, new clients join Granite Ridge Wealth Advisors by referral. Volkman doesn’t advertise – he doesn’t have to. Rather, his clients tell their friends about his focus on designing their portfolio to a standard of care versus cost. The quality of the plan he designs is more valuable in the long run than is cost. It is a message he continues to bring to the investment marketplace.

For more information on Granite Wealth Advisors, LLC, visit online at: www.graniteridgewealthadvisors.com

Registered Representative through First Allied Securities, Inc. Member FINRA/SIPC


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