Master Communicator

Master Communicatorblog

Carl Richards shares his 20 years of experience trying to help advisers communicate more effectively with their clients.

Dec 21, 2016, 3:09 PM EST

How long can you go without bringing your values into a client conversation?

By Carl Richards

As real financial advisers, we're paid for our advice, right? That's why clients come to us and ask for help. They want to know what we think — with one exception.Clients don't want us substituting our values for theirs. A classic example that came up a lot with my clients involved paying for college. Imagine a client tells you, "I worked my way through college. My kids can, too." You know this client has plenty of money, and you think, "Hey, quit being so stingy and help your kids." That may be true, but it's also none of your business. I understand why it's so tempting to "share" our values with clients. After all, maybe they just haven't thought about our perspective. Maybe they'd do something different if they understood ALL their options.Look, as reasonable as it sounds, our job isn't to be judge and jury of clients' values and goals. Our job is to help them make decisions that align with those values so clients can reach... Read full post

Dec 6, 2016, 5:36 PM EST

Clients must understand time frames when developing financial goals

By Carl Richards

How investors think about time plays a big role in the framework we develop for our clients. To better understand an individual's time frame, it's critical we ask really great questions so we can craft a financial plan and process that reflects the client's goals and needs. I know it's tempting to try to shortcut the system and make assumptions about “risk level,” but real financial advisers recognize this step can be the difference between building a long-term relationship or creating a short-term disaster.(More: Master Communicator: How financial advisers should discuss their pay with clients)One of the best comparisons I've found is to think about it like designing a house. Imagine you go to an architect, outline everything you want and hand over a bunch of money. You expect a house plan that matches your vision. But when you go back to look at the architect's plan, it looks nothing like what you said you wanted. I doubt ... Read full post

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