Think Beyond the Individual. Consider the Whole Family.

Are you serving individuals or are you serving families? There’s a huge difference!

None of your clients’ financial lives exist in a vacuum. Your clients make decisions that impact others and vice versa.

One top advisor asks his clients, “In addition to your immediate family members, are there others for whom you may feel financially responsible in some way?” He told me that about half of his clients respond, “Yes.” This is now an opportunity to serve his current client more deeply and usually leads to one or more new clients.

You already know that too many advisors lose the spouse’s business when the “lead client” dies. You also know that almost all advisors lose their children when the second spouse passes away.

The modern, holistic financial advisor creates an environment where everyone is welcome to “the party” – not just the “head of the family.” This includes the other spouse (if there is one) and the millennial kids.

Setting Up a Family Engagement Party, I mean, Plan

In addition to your standard questionnaire where you learn about assets, debit, insurance, and the like, consider creating an additional questionnaire or “Family Blueprint.” Get to know the interests, passions, and dreams of each family member. It’s like creating a character sketch for each member of a grand family saga, each having a pivotal role to play. Think of it as preparing a detailed script for a blockbuster family drama, where you’re trying to avoid any plot holes (gaps in their plan) by knowing every character inside out!

Meeting the Family

Some advisors avoid meeting with families. They don’t want to get involved in the often crazy and emotional family dynamic.

Other advisors know that going more deeply within families is a highly valuable service in the long run and can create multiple lifetime loyalty.

Another advisor I interviewed has a motto she states to all of her clients, “No family member left behind.”

Rather than creating a “formal business meeting” with the family, create more of an informal or even social feel. Everyone will be more relaxed and open.

Sometimes, discussions with families can resemble a sitcom where opinions fly across the room, and disagreements are a common scene. Your role here is to be the cool director who knows how to get the best out of every character, harmonizing different tones and perspectives into a symphonic consensus.

Wooing the Often-Neglected Co-Star

Often in the family financial narrative, there’s a spouse who prefers to remain backstage, not too keen to be in the limelight. It’s your job to bring out the reluctant co-star – to help them feel included and valued and to build trust that will likely be needed in the future.

Imagine weaving a tale that captivates the quieter spouse, making them realize that their role is crucial for a blockbuster story and happy ending. Sometimes, all it takes is a little nudge to get them more involved.

Rolling Out the Red Carpet for the Next Gen Stars

As we venture further, it’s time to roll out the red carpet for the up-and-coming stars – the adult children. In the grand wealth transfer narrative that’s unfolding in real-time, these young stars are poised to take center stage.

However, remember, this isn’t an automatic succession. These millennials and Gen Zs are a new breed, with their own scripts and directors in mind. It’s time to woo them with not just plans but exciting narratives where financial education is as captivating as a bestseller novel. Show them that the financial world isn’t just stocks and bonds, but a realm where dreams can turn into reality, where student loans can become tales of triumphs.

My financial advisor just hosted a 60-minute financial education discussion with my millennial daughter and her boyfriend. It was super valuable to them, and I kept thinking, “How come nobody taught me all these things when I was a young adult?”

Curtain Call: Reimagining Your Role

It’s time to redefine the role of financial advisors, turning it into a role where you’re not just an advisor but a cherished family friend, a confidant who knows the secrets to make every financial dream come true.

So, buckle up and get ready to turn the financial advisory world into a grand stage where every family narrative is a blockbuster in the making, filled with dreams, aspirations, and triumphant endings.

Related: From Bucket Lists To Live It Lists – An Advisor’s Path to $1M in Annual Production in 5 Years with Nicole Middendorf