Write Your Own Story

By |2024-04-18T16:00:34-04:00April 17th, 2024|Blog, Valuables|

As a financial advisor, I’ve never met two clients with the exact same vision of success. So, why are so many financial advisors pushing cookie-cutter solutions for clients like you? Families and individuals working with financial advisors often receive wealth plans and product recommendations that work for other similar clients and then are sent on their way. I feel strongly that each client’s values and goals should shape their wealth plan and portfolio — unfortunately, many other advisors don’t adopt this same philosophy.

As you approach your wealth plan, remember that you are still the author of your own story, even if you’re not a financial expert! Your advisors need to place your values and goals at the forefront of their equation when they create a financial plan for you.

In my practice, we use a tool called The Financial Roadmap to get to know our clients and what drives their wants and needs. Our team then leads several critical conversations to learn more about our clients’ core personal values and what a successful life looks like for them. Each step in the roadmap involves a conversation between the advisor and the client, but clients always lead the conversation around their deepest desires. Unlike others, we never spoon-feed suggestions or values we think you should have.

So, what does it look like to write your own financial story?

In our experience, there are 3 critical elements that must be considered when designing a wealth plan that will reflect your core personal values and support living an exceptional quality of life:

Step 1: Your Vision and Values

First, establish your vision and values. In the values conversation, our advisors gain a clear picture of what matters most in your life. By asking these questions, we also give you the space to think about your values. Basically, you want your advisor to help you grow your financial wealth, but what is really important about money to you? I’ve been writing a lot recently about this exercise and how it relates to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. If you want to dive into these topics further, check out my prior articles, which discuss our innate desire for Security, Connection and Belonging, and Self-Actualization.

Step 2:  Goals

Next, set clear, quantifiable goals. In the Financial Road Map experience, after we have established your most important values, the next step in our process is to discuss your tangible goals that will require money and planning to achieve. We conduct an exercise to organize and document your goals, taking time to determine a name for each goal that has meaning for you, an amount of money it is going to take to actualize that goal, and then a desired date in the future when you will have achieved that goal.

CAUTION: This is where you’ll see a common financial industry pitfall. Instead of listening to your unique goals, many financial advisors will try to make your goal fit into an agenda and spoon-feed you certain products. This is why we emphasize using your own words!

For example, many advisors might want to guide clients toward the word “retirement.” I’ve found that some people are oriented toward reaching a stage in life where work is optional, or they have the freedom to travel, contribute to causes, or spend more quality time with loved ones. Retirement can be too broad a term or feel too far away from where that client sees themselves. That’s why we focus on crafting goal labels that genuinely reflect the vibrant future you envision, steering clear of the industry’s one-size-fits-all approach. It’s about making your financial goals as personalized and motivating as the rest of your aspirations.

Step 3: Make a Personalized Financial Plan

Ok, now it’s time to create your wealth plan using traditional tools like life insurance, tax strategies, and managed accounts. Based on your own personal values and goals, you can design a suitable financial plan to get you where you want to go.

You deserve to have a financial plan that reflects your unique story, even if it doesn’t necessarily align with an existin