Engaging the entire family

Holistic life planning entails more than adding details and topics to a client’s life plan. It also means including more family members in the conversation. This is an area where advisors could do more. When working with married couples, nearly 40% of all advisors surveyed said they communicate predominantly with one spouse. Longer-tenured advisors said they tend to include both partners more often; 65% of advisors with 20 or more years of experience communicate equally with both spouses, compared with just 47% of advisors with under 10 years of experience.

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Those who communicate with both spouses may also be creating a more lasting client relationship. Advisors who said they communicate equally with both partners expressed higher confidence in their ability to maintain a relationship following a client’s divorce or death of a spouse. They also said they feel more knowledgeable about their clients’ nonfinancial goals.

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Working With Children

Advisors also reported increased interaction with clients’ children, but many said they are uncertain those efforts will result in retaining the next generation’s business. Sixty-three percent of advisors surveyed claimed their contact with clients’ children has risen in recent years, yet only a quarter said they are highly confident they will manage that next generation’s wealth. Engaging children at a younger age could make the difference. Seventy-seven percent of advisors who said they work with a client’s children before their teenage years expressed a high level of confidence that they will retain the children’s business. That percentage dropped to 29% for advisors who don’t work with children until their college years, and just 20% among advisors who engage with the next generation early in their working years.

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"I don't consider myself as an ‘investment manager’ but more of a financial life planner. Of course, we manage our clients’ portfolios,however, it is so much more than that. We work so closely with our clients that we tend to be the first call for a multitude of life events: a death in the family, a
marriage, new baby, etc. We truly make differences in people’s lives and that is our mission.”