Broadly speaking, our industry is centered on helping our clients achieve their stated financial objectives. We review their current financial position, explore their financial goals over a variety of time frames, and devise a plan that is designed to improve the probability of our clients achieving their financial objectives. Review meetings are then conducted where we help our clients track their progress and stay on course. That generally makes for a sound process in helping clients improve their financial situation.
However, there seems to be a void in advisors taking the time to track their own progress. What is the collective advice they’ve disseminated and effectuated over the course of any individual client relationship?
If our goal as advisors is to make a positive impact on our clients’ financial well-being and improve the probability of our clients achieving their stated financial objectives, I think it makes a lot of sense for us to track our own progress and to document the advice we provide to our clients. Call it a “Value-Added Diary,” a one-stop document that clearly details the specifics of advice disseminated over the course of an advisor-client relationship. Providing clients with a “to-do” list after every meeting, and then saving those lists as one collective document, is a great way to execute the “Value-Added Diary.”
We subscribe to the idea that “ideas don’t move mountains—bulldozers do.” We provide clients with clear, concise, actionable recommendations that will help them maximize the likelihood of achieving their financial goals over the long term, as opposed to a 100-page boilerplate document that sits on a shelf and is never read. Successful financial planning, we believe, is the culmination of clients making intelligent decisions on a consistent basis.
Focusing on the process rather than only the theoretical result is the best way to optimize your ability to achieve almost any goal in life, whether in the world of sports, dieting, or investment management and financial planning. A “Value-Added Diary” helps advisors focus on the process. They will always be able to articulate how they have made a positive impact on their clients’ financial well-being.
- Advisors provide clear progress goals for clients but could also benefit from tracking their own progress in providing guidance to clients.
- A “Value-Added Diary” is a helpful tool to capture the specifics of advice disseminated over the course of an advisor-client relationship.
Disclosure: Nerad + Deppe Wealth Management LLC is a registered investment adviser. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Nerad + Deppe Wealth Management LLC and its representatives are properly licensed or exempt from licensure. Past performance is no guarantee of future returns. Investing involves risk and possible loss of principal capital.
This article first published in Proactive Advisor Magazine on August 29, 2019, Volume 23, Issue 7.
Photography by Todd LeVeck