Connecting with clients

Give a man a fish and he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.

For Bill Parrott CFP©, president and chief executive officer of Parrott Wealth Management, it’s more than just an old saying—it’s how he approaches client relationships.

“I use stories, real life examples,” Parrott told The Suit in a recent interview. “If I talk to someone about fishing, it requires patience and planning just like investing.”

Stories and parables remain the “best way to connect” with clients and relate investing to their financial goals, Parrott added.

Parrott Wealth Management is a comprehensive wealth management firm based in Austin, Texas. The firm provides wealth management, financial planning, retirement planning, and other services to clients who mostly are approaching retirement. Parrott Wealth Management does not maintain a firm minimum investment.

“I don’t want the minimum to be a barrier,” Parrott said. “A lot of people have minimums but, if I set the minimum at $500,000 and someone comes in with $400,000, I’m going to work with that person.”

Parrott’s approach to clients involves considerable education and a strong focus on financial goals. Some investors may be consumed by seeking alpha and looking for products targeted toward maximizing returns, but Parrott cautions those investors to plan first, and invest second.

“I feel it’s more important for an individual to focus on their financial goals than on a money management style,” Parrott said. “Investors who try to invest without a plan are like a homeowner trying to build a home without a blueprint.”

Investors also need professional guidance to understand the tools available. Robo-advisors and new, automated investment tools can be helpful to a subset of would-be investors, but most still need help to sort their options and make an educated decision, Parrott said.

“It’s kind of like when I walk into a Home Depot, I’m surrounded by thousands of tools most of which I don’t know how to use,” Parrott said. “I could certainly go to a YouTube channel and educate myself on how to use a certain type of tool, but for me I feel more comfortable talking to an expert in the store who can give me some type of training.”

The increased information made possible by new tools and the Internet has failed to deliver an uptick in financial literacy, he added, noting that few people are genuinely literate when it comes to managing their own money. But that doesn’t mean the new tools are useless. In the future, those tools likely will enhance traditional advisors’ services, not replace them, Parrott said.

“The right tool in the right hands is a powerful thing,” he said.

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