People ask me all the time what my financial planning clients look like.
What I am actually being asking is this: “How much money do I need to invest with you to become a client?”
There is no perfect answer to that. I have clients who are just getting started and clients who are successful business owners. I work with middle managers, executives and everything in between.
But my clients do have something in common. They understand they will accomplish more working with a professional, than working by themselves.
My clients come to me because they know I can help. Typically, they all have the following traits:
1 – They Understand We are Running a Marathon
All good things take time! Financial planning isn’t any different. It takes time, energy, and a series of well thought out decisions made during the process. It doesn’t happen overnight, and the best clients get this.
Clients who get this are invested in the process, understand the value, and are not looking for a quick fix. They formulate goals, the set timelines, and they hold themselves accountable.
If you ask me, I just described the ideal team player in any profession. Who doesn’t want to work with someone who is cooperative and engaged?
2 – They Are the Anti-Do-It-Yourselfer
Who likes a micromanager? Anyone? Client’s who try to micromanage make it difficult to get anything accomplished.
I’ve always felt the smartest people in the world know what they know, and they know what they don’t. More importantly, they aren’t afraid to reach out for help.
I love working with clients who don’t want to do it themselves. They understand the value I bring to the table far exceeds the costs.
3 – They Ignore the “Noise”
Too many people have opinions on where the market is going. But I’ll tell you this, you show me someone who thinks it is going up, and I’ll show you someone who thinks it’s going down. I call this “noise.” Stop listening to it.
People on TV are paid to have an opinion and entertain. Your friends and family, well, they tell you the one time things went well, not the thirty times it didn’t. And finally, if your co-worker is really that smart about investing, don’t you question why he/she isn’t working in the industry?
Our best clients understand that markets are volatile. They will go up, and they will go down. They understand “time in”* the market and not “timing”** is one of the factors that dictates how successful or unsuccessful a plan will be.
They understand that “tips” from the media, their doctor, or the expert co-worker sharing information at in the coffee room aren’t worth much. They understand a bad day, week, month, or even year should not single handedly blow up a well constructed plan.
* how long the money stays invested
**Guessing correctly over and over again
4 – They Focus on Concepts, Not Specifics
I love educating clients! But to be perfectly honest, my goal isn’t to make you an expert. My goal is to give you the information you need to empower you to make an informed decision.
My best clients get this. They don’t want to be experts. They don’t need to know all the details.
They ask good questions; they evaluate the options, and together, we make educated decisions. They don’t get paralyzed by trying to know too much, because they know I know.
5 – They are Genuinely Interested in Wealth Accumulation, Preservation, and Transfer
Easy enough, right! Wouldn’t this be everyone? Of course it would. But our best clients understand this is the ultimate goal. They never lose sight of that.
They understand the decisions, the plan, and the strategy are always laser focused to help achieve the best possible outcome. They eliminate the “noise” and the “naysayers,” hold themselves accountable, and they commit to the collaborative process.