How Can Advisors Better Serve Their Clients in 2022?

When big picture analysts like Deloitte take a look at the wealth management industry, they tend to spotlight the need for change in areas as broad as robo-advisory, big data and expanding asset classes. While understanding changes of a seismic nature is absolutely vitally important, wealth management in the real world is ultimately a hands-on, practical exercise. So it is from this perspective that we see three industry executives weighing in on what they feel they are doing in order to better serve client needs.

The four ideas include:

• Getting the family involved! Leland Gross, CFP®, founder and CEO of PeaceLink Financial Planning LLC believes that one of the biggest challenges for the industry is finding ways to help entire families – not simply investors and retirees themselves – navigate the details.

LG1According to Gross, “US insurers see over $7 billion in unclaimed life insurance policies because beneficiaries didn’t know the policy existed so they didn’t claim their benefit.” At the same time, “15% of siblings have fought over their inheritance, and 33% of families have seen siblings lose their relationships over such disputes.”

The point is, “It is important that the industry learns to help families engage with these conversations; find ways to stay informed on family finances.”

Along this vein, “when parents do not feel comfortable talking to their kids, I have them complete a financial guide, sharing information about their insurance, investments, loans, wills, safety deposit boxes, and similarly important issues. We also point out key contacts like their CFP®, CPA, or lawyer. I keep a copy, have the client keep a copy, and give a copy to their children.

Whatever works best, it is important to the health of the family financially and relationally to foster openness and clarity around money.”

• Crushing the “get rich quick” mentality! Cryptocurrencies, GameStop, day-trading, house-flipping, selling on eBay: the list of get-rich stories is almost never-ending. Consequently, Michael J Hardy, CFP®, Senior Wealth Advisor and President at Williamsville, NY’s Ocean Wealth Group, believes the industry needs to do more to educate investors about the importance of a long term focus.

MG“Today, there are just too many people hearing stories of people getting rich quick,” says Hardy. “But to be a successful investor you need to have patience, structure and a long-term time horizon. In the world that we live to many people are hearing stories of getting rich quick. As advisors, we need to preach to our clients that the route to successful investing and retirement is long term buy and hold.”

Greater financial literacy, Hardy continues, “allows a person freedom and choices over their lifetime. Without money you can find yourself limited in life. Unfortunately for young people they don’t take Financial Literacy or financial planning courses in college and what a shame that is. Without the backbone of basic financial planning concepts along with the ability to have a good relationship with money people are at a loss when they begin their careers. Money and financial Planning is a like a car with premium gas and a high performing engine. It will take you places faster than you can on foot.”

• Getting clients to get out and do something! Carrie Cook, CFP®, CRPC® Founder and CCO of What About Us Financial at Bellbrook, OH-based What About Us Financial believes the industry needs to do more to help clients understand the importance of staying active and avoiding isolation following retirement.

CC“One of the largest issues my clients struggle with as they approach or enter retirement is their own personal socialization,” says Cook. “As many of us experienced amid Covid-19, feeling no pressure to walk out our front doors makes it easy to become home-bodies. And for older generations, the workplace has been the primary source of daily social activity. Water-cooler chat is how many of us keep up on current events within our circle.”

“But upon retirement, many of my clients have realized their social network has weakened significantly,” continues Cook. “So maintaining existing relationships requires vigilance and diligence. When clients come to me with a plan to relocate upon retirement, I’ve began advising they reconsider with social impacts in mind – maintaining and preserving healthy relationships can be as crucial to health and longevity as diet and exercise!”

• Reaching out to women and minorities! Also on Cook’s mind is the belief that the wealth management industry isn’t doing enough for various underrepresented groups.

“We need to address exclusionary practices,” says Cook. “Finance is a deeply important aspect in all our lives, and should be made accessible to, and be tailored for, all of us, both as individuals and as communities. When we provide financial literacy to everyone, instead of locking it behind ivy-league tuitions, opaque acronyms, and aloof bankers, we empower people to take better control of their lives and become less dependent on traditional, often exploitative, loans and employment models. We also empower them to support their families and communities by sharing this knowledge with younger generations.”

These are four areas where three industry executives we polled say change is needed. So what additional ideas do you have to share? Email us your thoughts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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