Active investment management’s weekly magazine for fee-based advisors

Alex Malley • Inverness, FL
Illuminate Financial Group • Cetera Advisors LLC.

Being located in a popular retirement area of Florida, my practice has a prime focus on retirement-income planning and legacy planning. I have clients from all walks of life and all sorts of backgrounds, including Holocaust survivors and people who worked for the U.S. space program.

To be a successful advisor, I need to thoroughly understand my clients’ backgrounds, what money means to them, and what is important in their lives moving forward. I believe that operating as an effective steward for my clients not only strengthens the relationship, but it also puts our practice on a strong footing when reaching out to the next generations in their family. Many of my clients have been with me for decades, and some are reaching the latter stages of their lives.

The key to the intergenerational wealth transfer is establishing a relationship before the event. Reach out to the next generation before the death of a client. You will be amazed with the reception you get, especially if mom and dad have spoken highly of you, the results you have achieved, and the relationship they have had with you.

There are several steps I take now to help put our practice in a better position to work with clients’ children:

  1. Simply, do the best job possible for your clients. It all starts there and with applying the principles of imparting valuable knowledge to clients, acting with integrity, and providing excellent service. This will become known to a client’s other trusted advisors and the client’s children.
  2. Invite a client’s children into the planning process. This can start at any age, but is especially critical as clients move into their later years. If a client’s children are from out of state, try to set up an appointment when they come to visit.
  3. Make sure your clients’ children know that their parents’ financial advisor should be one of the key people to call in the event of death. Don’t be shy about this. It is a service to the client and their family as they try and manage an estate. Helping in any way possible is the right thing to do, no matter if any assets are transitioned to your practice or not.
  4. Be ready to take a flight to visit with the children of clients. A face-to-face meeting is usually far more preferable than a phone conversation. If children do not want to meet with you, or have their own advisor, that is fine. But it is important to find out what the situation is and if the children will be receptive to working with you.

Here is the bottom line. If you have done your job with passion and dedication over the years, no one will know more about a client’s finances, and maybe even their life story. I have been asked to speak at funerals, and I have shared things that children and grandchildren were surprised to learn about their parents or grandparents. Whether a new financial relationship develops or not, I want to share my knowledge with the family of a client. Almost all families appreciate my efforts, and it is something that is very rewarding to me on a personal level.

Disclosure: Securities and advisory services offered through registered representatives of Cetera Advisors LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFGA Insurance Agency), member FINRA, SIPC. Cetera is under separate ownership from Illuminate Financial Group.

Photography by Charles LeRette