A holistic approach: beyond your clients' finances

"Financial well-being is about much more than numbers in a spreadsheet or the sum of a person's net worth. To truly lead a client up to and through retirement, financial professionals must deeply understand what drives each person as an individual." 

—Nick Lane, President, Equitable

Bridging the disconnect

Pie chart 87 percent
87% of advisors believe a holistic approach to financial planning is highly effective in helping clients
58 percent
58% said they are extremely or very familiar with their clients' non-financial goals

The role of the financial advisor is undergoing a steady evolution. A new report from Equitable and InvestmentNews Research, Beyond Finances: Holistic Life Planning Trends Among Advisors, finds that clients increasingly expect their advisors to help them with a financial strategy that takes into account the whole person—their purpose, lifestyle choices and finances.

At Equitable, we have always supported this broad–based approach to connecting with clients. It's why we sponsored the study. Learn more about how client expectations are changing, and how advisors are responding.

Download report 

Putting it into practice

This survey, conducted in January 2020, highlights a trend that has only accelerated with the global coronavirus pandemic. Advisors report an increase in discussions around a wide range of issues (see chart).

Chart showing how both men and women are talking more about investment topics

Beyond Finances: Holistic Life Planning Trends Among Advisors, InvestmentNews Research, 2020.

The research found that older and wealthier clients are most likely to demand broader services beyond financial planning. Additionally, family households are more likely than single households, and female clients more likely than male clients, to demand broader services.

We know that many advisors have been having these conversations for years, but with client needs intensified in our current circumstances, now is the time to double down on this approach. Below are some Equitable resources to spark conversation and put clients at ease.

Beyond finances: building relationships

Our recent study clearly shows both advisors and clients expect to have relationships based on a complete picture of clients' finances, lifestyle and purpose. But doing so takes effort on both sides. Share these articles, based on the study, to help clients understand what a holistic approach to financial strategy looks like, what kind of questions they can ask and what kind of products might be right for their situation.

"To truly lead a client up to and through retirement, financial professionals must deeply understand what drives each person as an individual. What do we hold dear? What keeps us up at night? Who matters the most to us?"

— Nick Lane, President, Equitable

Checklist of notes
Checklist: getting ready for an advisor conversation

Share with clients in advance of a meeting to help spark ideas for conversation. Read more.

Share your love: family discussion guide

Preparing for the end of a loved one's life can be a difficult conversation to have — and one in which advisors are likely to be increasingly involved, as clients expect a broader approach to life and financial planning. In addition to being emotional, there are many logistical details that can leave families overwhelmed. Two things can help: an empathetic advisor and a clear guide to what's important. This workbook can help clients gather information on financial assets, personal property, passwords, information for key contacts, funeral arrangements and more.

View guide

Starting the conversation on long-term care (for financial professional use)

Conversations about independence and moving to assisted living are on the rise with clients. In the study from InvestmentNews and Equitable, 55% of advisors said the frequency of conversations on the topic with female clients have increased, while 48% said the same about male clients. These resources from Dr. Sandra Timmermann, a nationally recognized gerontologist and expert on aging and retirement, can help you guide clients through a discussion on planning for long-term care.

View quick tips   Listen to webinar

Interested to learn more, contact us

Individual retirement

(888) 517-9900

Life insurance

(800) 924-6669

Group retirement

(866) 401-3030

IMPORTANT NOTE: For purposes of this discussion, "advisor" is used as a general term to describe insurance/annuity, investment sales and advisory professionals who may hold licensing as insurance agents, registrations with broker/dealers, and registrations as investment advisory representatives (IAR) of registered investment advisors, respectively. "Advisor" in this context is not intended to necessarily refer to IAR-offered fee-based financial advisory/planning services.

For Financial Professional Use Only. Not intended for use with, or distribution to, the General Public.

GE-3085224 (05/2020) (Exp. 08/2020)