Me: Hello, this is Josh Mudse with Munn Wealth Management. How can I help you?
Caller: Good morning Josh. This is Will Grimm. You work with my brother, Jake.
Me: Of course, he mentioned he thought you might be calling. How can I help you?
Caller: Josh, I want to be honest with you. I HATE talking with financial advisors.
After almost 20 years serving individuals and families, receiving this phone call from a client referral proved the adage: “you have never heard or seen it all”. After taking a breath, I first thanked Will for his candor and asked him if he could explain why he hated talking with advisors. His answers were an honest download of previous experiences. After time to reflect on our conversation, I believe many people share similar reservations.
Top 3 Reasons Why People Hate Talking with Financial Advisors
1. Product focused: The first financial representative that Will met with a decade ago sold him an annuity. Don’t jump to the conclusion that I am against all annuities. There are very good reasons to use annuities as part of a retirement income plan. Like most people engaging an advisor for the first time, Will did not know the right questions to ask to fully understand what he was buying and the representative did not fully explain the product he was selling. 11 years later and Will is still waiting out the time period when he can cancel the annuity without a penalty.
You might have noticed that I did not refer to this financial professional as an advisor. That is because this person was a registered representative (salesperson) of a securities company, and earned his fee from commissions. Again, I am not condemning the system of paying for advice through commissions as long as they are disclosed and the buyer understands that they are in a sales transaction, not receiving objective financial advice.
2. Not good at answering questions: Will has been attending the financial dinner seminar circuit and found an advisor that he thought was knowledgeable and might be a good fit for his stage in life. After an initial meeting, the advisor prepared a proposal for Will to consider hiring their firm for financial planning and investment management. Based on his previous experience, Will had specific questions about a few details in the proposal.
The advisor provided generic answers with lots of financial jargon. It is easy for advisors to quickly jump on answering a question to prove how smart they are, verbally downloading an encyclopedia of details on a financial topic. Will walked away with the impression that the generic answers were what the advisor thought he wanted to hear and did not apply to him specifically.
3. Horrible listener: I will fully admit that being a good listener is tough and I have lots of room to improve. Financial advisors tend to ask questions and then selectively listen for the answer that helps them make their point. Will provided important details in his conversation that were key facts about his family dynamics and concerns that the advisor could have used to inform his answers to Will’s questions. Will felt those details fell on deaf ears and that the advisor did not really understand him or his situation.
How do we at Munn Wealth address these common reservations when talking with a referral from our clients?
· Our team consists of four Certified Financial Planners, two Certified Public Accountants and one Certified Financial Analyst. We all work under the fiduciary rule, putting client interests above our own.
· When you walk through our office, you will notice that are doors are usually open. Our team regularly stop in to ask each other how they would address specific client concerns. Even though every client has a dedicated advisor, the entire team is available to help analyze a scenario and explore possible solutions. We know we do not always have an answer to every question. We work with each other to research those questions and how they apply in each situation.
· An initial conversation with us is going to start with a few important questions before we jump into proposing solutions. Our goal is for you to talk about 70% of the meeting, which means we are listening 70% of the time.
You might still have some questions about how that conversation might unfold. In reality, every conversation is different and impossible to illustrate here. Our goal is to truly understand your desired outcomes and how you make decisions about money. Then we can get to work creating a plan with you that we know will need adjustments over time. If you want one question that usually results in a good conversation:
Why is money important to you?
Try it out with your spouse. Or your parents. Or your kids. Or maybe even your boss. No matter the response, follow-up with another question, something as simple as: Can you tell me more about why that is important? As you listen to the answers you will get a better understanding about that person.
• This material is intended to be educational in nature, and not as a recommendation of any particular strategy, approach, product or concept for any particular advisor or client. These materials are not intended as any form of substitute for individualized investment advice. The discussion is general in nature, and therefore not intended to recommend or endorse any asset class, security, or technical aspect of any security for the purpose of allowing a reader to use the approach on their own. Before participating in any investment program or making any investment, clients as well as all other readers are encouraged to consult with their own professional advisers, including investment advisers and tax advisors. Munn Wealth Management can assist in determining a suitable investment approach for a given individual, which may or may not closely resemble the strategies outlined herein.