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Three Ways To Help Clients Prioritize Their Financial Health

Forbes Finance Council

Chief Executive Officer, Bailard. Leadership, management and vision; promoting diversity and inclusion.

Ever since March 2020, the global community has come face-to-face with the importance of routine. One evolution that took place over the past year and a half was the proactive incorporation of lifestyle and wellness into the everyday. From setting health-related goals to prioritizing mental wellness, many are embracing the importance of taking care of themselves. Companies, individuals and advisors are now facing this in a new way, by incorporating the crucial factor of financial well-being.

It is imperative that Americans not only remember to consider their finances but also adopt a new, holistic way to apply wellness to their portfolio strategy. Financial check-ins are vital, in light of what the pandemic has brought front and center. The importance of health, community and loved ones has never been more clear, and it’s pivotal to be best positioned for the unexpected. As financial advisors, it is easy to field client questions on the market moves of the day, the impact of changing legislation and a litany of topics that are of the moment. While addressing these topics is crucial in our role, we also have a responsibility to dedicate time for our clients to take a step back for a holistic financial check-in. To make this check-in productive for clients and advisors alike, make sure that you and your clients are making time for these discussions. Are you asking the right questions about how to ensure their portfolio reflects the check-in’s findings, and then incorporating lifestyle changes into plans moving forward?

Making Time For Big-Picture Discussions 

At the peak of an individual’s career, or in the midst of retirement, many often get sidetracked from planning for the future. While clients generally don’t intentionally skip these check-ins, it’s more important than ever to reevaluate these strategies, considering the volatility exemplified by Covid-19. It is crucial to set aside time for a more involved “wellness check.” There’s a reason for annual physical checkups at the doctor, and this is an opportunity to do the same with a financial plan.

Creating A Portfolio That Reflects Your Client’s Priorities

Most client/advisor meetings consist of asset allocation reviews with the intention of maximizing returns. While incredibly important, there is more to consider beyond returns. The coronavirus pandemic and national discussions around systemic injustices opened the eyes of many to society’s inequalities — and the impact one’s investments can have on these. Because of this, a client’s portfolio and financial plan’s impact on their community and their values is a crucial component of a financial wellness check.

Now is the time to ask clients and yourself constructive questions that can unlock your next steps for portfolio adjustments:

Is your portfolio reflecting the values you hold dear?

When was the last time you and your clients reviewed their strategic goals, such as sustainable and impact investing?

Has the volatile marketplace encouraged your clients to reevaluate your risk versus return ratio?

How can you help clients realign their portfolios with how the world — and potentially, the client’s worldview — has changed?

These questions can be game changers for how you help your clients while empowering clients to think in new ways that are important to them.

Incorporating Relevant Lifestyle Changes

Ask your clients: When was the last time you had free time on your hands to reevaluate your family’s goals? Have you had any lifestyle changes in the past five to 10 years that haven’t been reflected in your estate or financial plan?

People have evolved on a massive scale in the past year and a half alone, whether through lifestyle, health or relationship shifts. Now is the time to reevaluate how families want their lifestyle to impact their legacy.

Ensure both you and your clients come prepared to a financial planning wellness check-up. Advisors should have questions prepared, and before each meeting, family members should have those tough conversations about lifestyle, values and goals. This ensures that these discussions are productive and that all participants are aligned, preparing everyone for a meaningful session where everyone can focus on next steps.

Financial planning professionals need to urge families and individuals to not only check in on their financial portfolios but also on their overall goals. Much like the annual trip to the doctors’ office, a financial plan wellness checkup with your clients will encourage them to review, update and feel more confident in their goals and the well-being of their estate, while securing the future for the next generation.

The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.

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