IRAs, stocks, bonds, Income forecasts, tax plans, life insurance, wills & trusts. While all may be important to a person’s “financial health,” no one actually wants them. They want what these instruments provide. And when it comes to partnering with a financial professional to improve one’s financial health, SRQ Wealth believes that successful people, at their core, are only seeking three things…
- Service Excellence and
- The Unvarnished Truth.
Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” People – especially successful ones - have been seeking simplicity for a very long time. And while the issues that financial planning endeavors to solve are, at their core, starkly simple, the process of completing a financial plan can be messy, leading to a sense of confusion, feeling overwhelmed and, when it comes to investments, a lack confidence in the ability of one’s portfolio to meet their goals.
This is unfortunate. Too often, other advisors try to dazzle clients with statistics, lengthy dissertations and predictions of the future. (For our take on that latter, check out “1 Out Of 1 Optometrists”) It doesn’t have to be this way. A good financial professional should be able to take even the most complex financial picture and simplify it. When greater simplicity is achieved, confidence can be restored.
At the core of most problems that financial professionals are asked to solve are the simplest, most human desires. It often sounds something like this:
“I do not want to die – or be disabled - suddenly and leave my children financially bereft. I do not want my children to still have student loans when they’re fifty years old. I don’t want to run out of money in retirement and be dependent on my children and/or the government to take care of me. I don’t want to see everything I’ve worked hard to accumulate wiped out if I have to go into a nursing home for an extended period of time. And if, by chance, I am able to leave a legacy of substance to those I love, I would prefer that half of it not be taxed away.”
Clients are less concerned with how their financial professional is going to solve these issues,
Clients mostly care that their advisor is going to solve them.
Common sense tells us that there is no guarantee that all financial problems can be solved. For example, no reasonable amount of stock market returns will solve an “overspending in retirement” problem. However, knowing that your financial professional cares, and is committed to helping you move closer to a good set of solutions to help simplify your life can deeply comforting.
Karin has a phrase that I’ve also used a thousand times.
“It’s not our job to be an encyclopedia; it’s our job to be a Rolodex.”
Translation: we don’t have to be an expert at everything, we just have to know how to get things done for our clients. If that means locating and utilizing the best outside resources, so be it.
For our clients, we believe it is critically important to know their desires, similar to the story noted above. And once we formulate a customized financial plan to help address those desires, it is our job to make the solutions – even if somewhat complex – seem simple. If more complexity is needed to communicate our solutions; then we go back to the drawing board to get back to the basics. Simplicity is key: You should demand nothing less from those you are hiring to build strategies for you.
So do you believe in simplicity? Better yet, does your current advisor?
If you don’t know, ask. If they don’t know, maybe it’s time to check your Rolodex.
Note: If you were born after 1990 and and have no idea what a Rolodex is, we’re even.
I don’t even know how to use SnapChat.
Investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.