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New Year’s Resolutions for Your Financial Planning Practice

Lindsay Robinson, CFP® January 4, 2024

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The new year is a time when many people set personal goals, or resolutions, for ways they hope to improve their lives. This year instead of, or perhaps in addition to, personal resolutions, why not examine some that would benefit your business?

Individual resolutions often include a desire to change a specific behavior or to reach a personal goal and many of these can be adapted to apply to a business. Here are some ideas for using business resolutions to grow and improve your practice in the new year.

1. Improve Health

Whether it’s to exercise more or eat less, health-related personal resolutions are among the most common. These can easily be translated into goals that relate to the health of your firm. Examine your recent performance or look at industry trends to determine the changes that could best improve the health of your business. Some examples include:

New client acquisition. If you’ve found that you have an aging client base, many of whom are transitioning into retirement, it’s crucial that you focus on new client acquisition to ensure your firm’s future.

Client acquisition takes time and effort, so it’s important to have a clear strategy that is efficient and consistent with measurable outcomes. Steps to improve your client acquisition process could include:

  • Examining the possibility of serving a specific niche clientele
  • Enhancing your digital marketing and the content that supports it
  • Creating and implementing a consistent social media calendar to improve your online engagement

Whether you implement these or other client acquisition processes, thinking through and creating a structure around your strategy will provide the best results to attract the new clients you’ll need to sustain and build your business.

Examine your fee structure. While charging a fee for assets under management (AUM) has been the most popular for decades, as firms evolve toward offering more financial planning, as well as the need to serve more people with fewer assets, this fee structure may not be providing the best return. Other ways to charge for financial planning include:

  • Subscription fees
  • Annual retainers
  • Hourly fees
  • Flat fees
  • A blend or combination of any of these

Take time in the new year to learn more about some of the common financial planning fees and under what circumstances they work best. Compare the work your firm is doing as well as any plans to acquire more planning clients in the future to ensure you’re employing the fee structure that best supports the health of your business.

2. Get Organized

Another popular New Year’s resolution that can benefit any business is getting organized. Rather than committing to clean out your closets or garage, take a look at the aspects of your day-to-day business that could benefit from greater organization.

Streamline operations. Establishing internal processes and workflows will create efficiencies that can free up time to focus on other areas of the business. Opportunities to become more efficient could include creating a new financial fact-finding workflow to ensure a consistent onboarding experience or outsourcing certain administrative aspects of your business such as operations, marketing, or human resources.

Integrate technology. The right financial technology can enhance your business in numerous ways. From portfolio analysis and financial planning to client communication and data security, improving your tech stack can help you provide a customer experience that enhances your ability to gain and retain new clients.

3. Learn a New Skill or Hobby

Self-improvement is the backbone of New Year’s resolutions and what better focus for self-improvement than something that will also help your business? Continuing education is already an annual requirement to maintain your credentials, but there are other ways to improve your knowledge and expertise beyond the obligatory CE credits.

Study financial psychology. Not only is financial psychology a required part of the CFP ® curriculum, but it’s also become an essential element of building open, trusting, and transparent client relationships. CFP Board’s Psychology of Financial Planning offers an overview of everything a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM should know about financial psychology. Even if you became a CFP Professional before it was a part of the curriculum, make a plan to structure the year’s CFP® CE credits around courses that will increase your knowledge of the field.

Obtain additional certifications. There are hundreds of financial advisor designations to choose from. If you currently serve a niche clientele or find that your clients are often asking you about specific expertise, look for designations or certifications to pursue that will add value to your existing client relationships. From the designations of Certified Divorce Financial Analyst® to Registered Life Planner®, determine where your interests lie, as well as what would benefit the financial planning services you offer, and make a plan to pursue additional areas of expertise.

Prepping the next generation. A commitment to continuing education shouldn’t be limited to your own pursuits. To ensure the next generation of financial advice professionals is prepared for the industry, create a learning roadmap to nurture their growth. Options for doing this could include:

  • Offering them firsthand experience beyond the classroom through internships, externships, and on-the-job training
  • Becoming a mentor, coach, or trainer to help them build and strengthen their financial planning expertise

Choose this year to create a culture of learning within your organization where individuals are encouraged to grow and improve. Not only will you make a difference in the life of a rising financial professional, but you’ll also help foster a spirit of collaboration and teamwork that will benefit your entire business.

Start the Year Off Right

It’s rare for people to experience success with their New Year’s resolutions. According to The Economic Times, about 84 percent of people break them within the first one to six weeks often because they are unrealistic and not backed by a plan.1

By applying New Year’s resolutions to your practice, you can use your business acumen to determine the changes that are truly achievable and then create a plan for follow-through that becomes a part of this year’s strategic plan.

Source:

1. “Why Is It So Difficult to Stick to Resolutions? Six Reasons Why You Fail to Follow.” The Economic Times, 2022. December 28. https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/how-to/six-reasons-why-your-new-year-resolutions-dont-work/articleshow/88658576.cms.

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.

Image of Lindsay Robinson, CFP®
About the Author

Lindsay Robinson, CFP® manages the Financial Planning Service and Research Team, which focuses on providing the highest level of financial planning services for our clients. In this role she leads research initiatives on key planning trends and industry updates. Lindsay is a CFP® professional and has a Master of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in financial and tax planning.

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