It wasn’t so long ago that clients perceived financial plans as an extension of the prospecting process to entice them to open an account and hand over their money. Many financial advisors feigned the role as a financial planner to create the perception of objectivity with the recommendations they would make. Clients received a faux leather-bound financial plan that just took up shelf space, never to be revisited by them or their advisor.
Fast forward to today, and we see an increasing number of financial advisors who are committed to a more holistic approach to working with clients, making the financial plan a critical cornerstone of their relationships. That, of course, is in response to what more and more clients are looking for in their advisor relationships—a plan that addresses the entirety of their financial life to guide them in life-critical decisions.
Why is it then that the value of a well-conceived financial plan seems to wane among clients who, further into the advisory relationship, begin to question their advisor’s advice or express disenchantment because their investments are underperforming their neighbor’s or colleagues’ portfolio? What do advisors need to do to get their clients to refocus on what’s really important?