Just when you thought it was safe! The elder statesmen for us millennials returns. Now I know that there may be a few of you who doubt my millennial status. I thought that I would find some corroboration from doing research. So I did what we hip, older millennials do when we research something, I went to my encyclopedia. I am sorry that my World Book encyclopedia didn’t even have millennial in the index, so you will just have to take my word for it!
Anyways… I was talking to one of our firm’s clients who was meeting with one of the other advisors and he told me jokingly this meeting is almost as painful as going to the dentist for him (he didn’t mean that of course, but…). That got me thinking back to a recent meeting that I just had with one of my new clients where she admitted to me - after our first meeting - that she was actually afraid to meet with me. I was shocked because normally people meet me first and then become afraid (that I understand, but the reverse, not so much).
This client’s husband had predeceased her a few years ago and she hadn’t done anything with her finances as she wasn’t sure what she should do. She had met with multiple financial people, but in the end, she never implemented anything. Her lack of implantation was all-encompassing as it relates to her financial picture. When we finally had our meeting (which took almost a year to get scheduled) I started asking questions. I asked her about how risk tolerant she was, what was her goal for both her life insurance and her investments, and why hadn’t she done anything with respect to her multiple investment and life insurance accounts. Our first meeting lasted for over 90 minutes and during the entire time, all we did was talk about her, her situation, her desires, and her goals. At the end of our meeting, she told me that I was the first advisor who asked her what she wanted and was trying to accomplish with her insurance and investments. The problem for her was that none of the other advisors were listening to or caring about what SHE wanted and needed so that she could feel confident in her financial situation. It was only after the client knew that I was trying to get down to what was important to her and that she was being heard, that she then, and only then, moved forward and implemented my ideas.
I have been at this long enough to know people only purchase something because they are looking to solve some problem in their lives. This goes from buying a spark plug for your lawnmower to an insurance policy for your family’s protection. People in my industry do a much better job of talking than they do listening. I can only hope this changes in the future because it is impossible to know what is in the client’s best interests without knowing what the clients wants, needs and desires are. We all need to understand that our lives change, insurance policies change and our goals may change as well. Just because we put a plan in place years ago does not mean that is still the right plan today because life happens. So many times we are hesitant to act for a variety of personal reasons, but it will only be through an open exchange between client and advisor that we can feel confident that we are doing the best with our financial portfolios. So when that pesky insurance agent calls and says that he wants to talk to review your insurance situation, please don’t hear the dentist’s drill, but rather the melodic voice of Neil Diamond singing Hello Again.