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Webinar Recap: Key Insights into Becoming a Trusted Advisor

Emily Koochel June 6, 2023

A financial advisor meeting with clients.

Building trust is essential to the foundation of a successful client relationship. Unfortunately, mistrust has been baked into consumers’ consciousness for some time. This causes many to question whether financial professionals have their best interests in mind and leaves financial planners the task of turning mistrust into understanding and action.

In our recent webinar, “Key Insights into Becoming a Trusted Advisor” we discussed how to break down client barriers and expand your value as a financial planner. You can preview a few of the session’s highlights here or access the full webinar.

Gain Insight into Your Clients’ Mindsets

To understand how to build trust with your clients, you first need to understand their mindset, where their mistrust comes from, and how those feelings impact their decision making and financial well-being.

Financial Knowledge

Financial literacy plays a fundamental role in enabling responsible decisions and financial well-being. Individuals must have sufficient and appropriate financial knowledge and skills in order to make well-informed financial decisions in both the short and long-term. Research shows that those with higher levels of financial knowledge are more likely to exhibit positive financial behaviors and make responsible decisions.

Inversely, low levels of financial knowledge cause many Americans to struggle with the basic economic concepts necessary for proper budgeting, saving, and financial decision-making.1 As financial markets and tools continue to become increasingly complex individuals may experience feelings of lower confidence resulting in financial anxiety and stress.

Cognitive Biases

We often make decisions by relying on a cognitive bias, which is a systematic thought process caused by the tendency of the human brain to simplify information and filter it through our own personal experience and preferences.

This is a coping mechanism that allows the brain to quickly prioritize and process information, but it can also cause errors in our thoughts and influence our decisions. As a result, we often fail to behave in a certain way even though we know the positive consequences of that behavior due to a cognitive bias. This means that even if someone has a high level of financial knowledge, a cognitive bias may impact their decision making. For example, many of us know we should save for retirement, yet we fail to put enough money away each month.

Lack of Trust in Financial Advice

Countless Americans rely on financial advisors to plan for the near term and the future, but the financial advisor industry is running into a credibility problem: relatively few American consumers trust it. Due to their lack of trust, some consumers turn elsewhere, such as digital resources, family members, and social media for their financial advice. But despite their reluctance to trust, the demand for professional advice is rising in the wake of financial stress and anxiety.

Financial Stress

Financial concerns are not only limited to those who are facing objective economic hardships, but it extends to any person that perceives that his or her resources are insufficient or inadequate to meet his or her financial needs. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, nearly 75% of Americans report feeling stress about money, both day-to-day money problems and long-term financial concerns.2

Putting It Together

Clients’ decisions can be guided by a well-designed financial plan, but their own money mindset (e.g., their experiences, biases, etc.) can lead to ill-advised decisions if they are not well understood by the advisor, even when a plan is in place. It is important to remember that even as you present your client with a financial plan, these perceptions and their cognitive biases may challenge their feelings about it.

The decisions we make about money then impact our personal financial situation and these, in turn, can affect our feelings and future behaviors.

It’s worth spending some time to become aware of the emotions that are especially tied to money for your clients because, without awareness, they may override rational thinking and ultimately impact their decision making, leading them to deviate from the financial plan.

But how can you invest in your clients’ confidence and become their trusted advisor? Watch our Key Insights into Becoming a Trusted Advisor webinar to:

  • Dive deeper into the topics I discussed here
  • Learn about client barriers to seeking financial planning services and the importance of communicating your value
  • Find out how to invest in client confidence to gain and maintain your clients’ trust
  • Gain an understanding of how to address and facilitate client change

Watch the Webinar


1. “Financial literacy and the need for financial education: evidence and implications.” Lusardi, 2019.

2. “Stress in America.” American Psychological Association, October 2022.

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 Emily Koochel
About the Author

Dr. Emily Koochel is an experienced financial professional, academic, and researcher. She currently serves as a leader for eMoney Advisor’s Financial Education and Wellness initiatives in her role as Manager of Financial Wellness. Dr. Koochel’s PhD in Applied Family Science and Master’s in Financial Planning provide a multidisciplinary lens to inform her work where she focuses on understanding the effect of financial behaviors and financial decision making on personal and financial wellness. She serves as a subject matter expert in the field, reviewing and authoring peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and contributing to public scholarship. Most notably, she served as a co-author for the CFP Board’s book – The Psychology of Financial Planning - and was awarded 2020 Outstanding Research Journal Article of the Year by the Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education. She holds the Certified Financial Therapist – I designation and is an Accredited Financial Counselor and Behavioral Financial Advisor.

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