Catching up on what’s going-on
Recently, a friend of many years contacted me. He and his wife knew me when I was young, long before my years of education, exams, and time spent becoming a financial planner and investment advisor representative. When they walked in the door, they knew they were in a difficult financial situation with important decisions to make at a critical juncture – 69 years old and trying to retire for the second time. The first time round, they realized they hadn’t saved enough, and Social Security wasn’t as much as they had thought.
Just a chat
Another professional suggested they speak with me. We had a great meeting, but they told me they had a friend from years ago who’s a, “really successful advisor that does really important plans for very rich people.” Okay – I thought. I feel good about the value I bring clients and the life changes I have seen people make to achieve their goals, so it didn’t upset me.
After some time passed
Six months later two thick spiral-bound books landed on my desk and there was a voice mail. The message was, “Hey, Sarah, our friend did a plan for us, but we don’t know what it means, can you help us understand it?” Two books of financial planning were way too complicated…
Too much jargon, not enough action
I don’t think I am going out on a limb saying, presenting a huge technical plan, with highly sophisticated concepts, is not what most people want. In my experience people want a financial plan to provide direction, a bit of education, and simplicity.
The purpose of the plan
Sometimes the first step in a financial plan is figuring out where you want and need to be. Financial planners help figure out the steps to get to what clients want to achieve. If a plan is too huge and difficult; then it stops you from taking steps toward a goal. A big, thick plan can leave a client feel confused about where to even start.
Make it clear and make it real
The job of the planner / advisor is to understand the technical parts behind the plan, BUT most importantly, the job of the planner is to convey the information in understandable terms with realistic steps to implement. A good financial plan is meaningful and relevant to the client.