As tech companies crowd their territory, banks are exploring ways to understand customers on a deeper level and create personalized… Read More
Finding Purpose: Financial Planning to Ensure Alignment with What Your Clients Value
• Matt Schulte • October 26, 2021
While the day-to-day uncertainty we all felt early in the pandemic may be behind us, we’re just starting to see the long-term impact the disruption to “normal” life has caused. People are taking more time to reflect on their mental and physical well-being, and many are leaving, or considering leaving, their current jobs to pursue opportunities that better align with their values.1
And we’re seeing the same shift among investors. The trend toward greater alignment between personal values and financial planning was already beginning to take shape, but the pandemic has accelerated that push and is proving to be a major turning point for ESG investing—strategies that take a company’s environmental, social, and governance factors into consideration.2
Financial Wellness Is Linked to Overall Health
Younger generations are also recognizing the many ways financial health is linked to physical and mental wellness. Financial worries—especially during such a precarious time—can manifest as stress that takes a real toll on overall well-being—so much so that around 80 percent of Millennials and Gen Z would be willing to give financial professionals more business in return for advice on physical and mental health topics.3
To be successful in a world focused increasingly on financial wellness, firms need to find ways to ensure that both financial professionals and their clients are fulfilled. This means identifying and operating in the space where both groups’ values intersect.
Fortunately, there is a clear overlap of expectations. Clients want to achieve peace of mind financially, reach their financial goals, and receive investment help that has a positive impact on their quality of life—all things financial professionals are excited to deliver. But as the conversation around financial expectations continues to evolve, financial professionals need to be prepared to keep pace.
The Evolving Role of Financial Professionals in a Purpose-driven World
The role of a financial professional has always been to help clients achieve their financial goals—and that definition is largely staying the same. But the goals clients are looking to achieve are becoming more ambiguous, relying more on personal feelings and expectations about money than hitting specific monetary targets.
Clients are looking at financial wellness with a broader lens and considering the many ways money impacts their futures as well as their day-to-day lives. And they are defining financial wellness as a feeling of independence, comfort, and stability as opposed to a specific financial threshold. Conversely, financial professionals have tended to view financial wellness as meeting pre-determined goals, plans, and investments.
On top of this mismatch of definitions, only 13 percent of financial professionals said they discuss financial wellness with all clients and only 67 percent believe their clients are receptive to financial wellness discussions. This is in comparison to 90 percent of clients who said they’d like to have those conversations with their financial planner.4
Building a Financial Practice Around Purpose
The process starts with communication, building authentic relationships, and delivering real value. Providing personalized support that aligns with each client’s unique goals or special needs—even those outside traditional financial expectations—can make clients feel heard and understood.
For financial professionals, carving a niche and offering services to a like-minded group of people can not only help provide better support for clients but also become a unique marketing opportunity to grow their business and find their own fulfillment.
Financial professionals and clients both want the same thing—to achieve financial wellness. But at the moment, the two aren’t entirely aligned on what success looks like.
Clients are redefining what it means to be financially healthy while many financial professionals are still delivering results based on traditional ideas. Moving forward requires opening the conversation to learn the values, needs, and expectations clients have of working together.
While it’s still hard to say what the long-term impact of the pandemic will be, financial professionals should be encouraged to move forward by looking for opportunities to reconnect around what matters—creating financial plans that lead to a better quality of life for their clients—no matter what that looks like.
Read our Planning with Purpose eBook for an in-depth look at the market research in its entirety.
DISCLAIMER: The eMoney Advisor Blog is meant as an educational and informative resource for financial professionals and individuals alike. It is not meant to be, and should not be taken as financial, legal, tax or other professional advice. Those seeking professional advice may do so by consulting with a professional advisor. eMoney Advisor will not be liable for any actions you may take based on the content of this blog.
1 Dill, Kathryn. 2021. “America’s Workers Are Leaving Jobs in Record Numbers.” The Wall Street Journal. https://www.wsj.com/articles/whats-driving-americas-workers-to-leave-jobs-in-record-numbers.
2 Stevens, Pippa. “Sustainable Investing Is Set to Surge in the Wake of the Coronavirus Pandemic.” CNBC, 2020. June 7. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/07/sustainable-investing-is-set-to-surge-in-the-wake-of-the-coronavirus-pandemic.html.
3 eMoney Power to the Plan Research, July 2020, Advisors n=420, End clients n=403
4 eMoney Planning with Purpose Research, July 2021, Advisors n=393, End clients n=391
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