How Can Financial Planners Save You From America's #1 Killer?
You probably aren’t aware of this, but it’s true: financial planners are heroes.
Yep, it's the truth.
And when you think of the America's top killer, you might think about smoking, cancer or obesity. Or maybe even a serial killer.
But the real story is far more surprising.li
Because, according to Duke University’s Ralph Keeney, the top killer is our inability to make smart choices and overcome our self-destructive behaviors.
Ralph estimates that about half of us will make a lifestyle decision that will ultimately lead us to an early grave. And as if this were not bad enough, it seems that the rate at which we make these deadly decisions is increasing at an alarming pace.
Why Do So Many of Us Make Lousy Personal Decisions?
It has everything to do with one of the biggest problems we encounter in our financial planning practice.
The other day I received an email from a financial planner after asking him what his greatest struggle is nowadays. This is what he wrote:
This may sound strange, but one of my challenges is to get clients interested in their own finances. Many have the best of intentions but keep getting distracted by life. I have one client who needs to withdraw some money for his daughter’s education. I have been waiting over a month for him to tell me how much.
Why is this?
Why can’t we enthuse our clients to save for their daughters study?
Why can’t we save part of our paychecks, as we know we should?
Why can’t we resist new purchases?
Why can’t we exert some good old-fashioned self-control?
The answer comes from Dan Ariely, author of the bestseller Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.
Ariely explains that at first, we’re in a cool state when we say that we’ll save money. We feel good about ourselves.
However, after a while, this hot piece of lava called emotion passes by. Just when we promise to save, we see a new car, the latest iPhone or this great pair of shoes.
We promise to spend the money on retirement, but we spend the money on vacation
What happens here is that people give up their long-term goals for immediate gratification.
In other words, people procrastinate.
Why do We Lose the Fight Against Procrastination So Frequently?
In Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions Ariely tells about his search for the cause of this problem and the fix for this human weakness. He tells about himself – standing in front of his class – asking his students to finish three papers over the 12-week semester. The papers would constitute much of the final grade.
“But what about the deadlines?” a student asked.
Ariely decided to test his students by dividing them into three groups:
- Group 1 had to commit their deadlines to the paper. After setting the deadlines, they couldn’t be changed. Late papers would be penalized at the rate of one percent off the grade for each day late. To help them, Ariely gave them a scheduling tool and spaced the timing of their papers across the whole semester;
- Group 2 had no deadlines at all. They could hand the papers at any time before the end of the semester. There was no grade benefit if they turned in the papers earlier;
- Group 3 received the dictatorial treatment: Ariely dictated three deadlines for three papers, set at the fourth, eighth, and twelfth weeks. There was no choice. This was it.
So, here’s a question for you.
Which do you think achieved the best final grades?
Ariely found out that the students in group nr. 3 – the group with the three firm dictated deadlines – got the best grades. The group with no deadlines (group 2) had the worst grades. And group 1 – logically – ended in the middle.
So what do these results suggest?
- Students procrastinate. Nothing new here.
- Tightly restricting freedom is the best cure for procrastination.
- The biggest eye-opener, however, was that by giving the students a simple tool by which they could commit to deadlines, helped them achieve better grades. It helped them to achieve their goals.
How does this tool look? Well, very simple. They had to fill in the blank to this question:
I promise to submit paper 1 on week ____
And they did the same for each paper of course.
This eye-opener implies that the students generally understood their problem with procrastination and took action to fight it when they were given the opportunity to do so, achieving relative success in improving their grades.
What Does This Mean for Your Financial Planning Service?
A lot, I believe.
Although people have all the information and tools available within one or two swipes, they find themselves again and again in the same predicaments as the students – failing to reach what they really want to achieve.
Because without commitments, people keep falling for temptation.
You see, most of your clients don’t get what they really want these days. Not from their jobs, not from their families, not from their religion, not from their government, and most important, not from themselves.
Something is missing in most of your client’s lives. Part of what’s missing is a purpose. Values. Worthwhile standards against which your client’s lives can be measured. Part of what’s missing are goals worth pursuing.
As a result, your clients scramble about hungrily seeking distraction and instant gratification. Through television, via Facebook, and return on investments. Distraction and instant gratification fill the emptiness.
What most people need, then, is guidance. Guidance from someone with a purpose, with an order, with meaning. Someone who shows the way to becoming organized and clearly focused on a specific worthwhile result.
And this person, mister and miss Financial Planner, is YOU.
You are the one who’ll become prized for who you are: a leader whose values such as integrity, intention, commitment, vision and (financial) excellence can be used as action steps in the process of producing worthwhile results.
What kind of results?
Results that satisfy your client’s basic needs:
- a feeling of competence;
- a feeling of relatedness (belonging and feeling connected to others)
- a feeling of autonomy (feeling a sense of mastery and control)
What Do You Need To Do
Unless you believe that you’ll get the most out of giving orders to your clients (just like Ariely did to group nr. 3), you need to consider the group 1-approach.
This is great news for you.
It’s scientific proof that your clients really need you, to help reach their goals. To make the approach work, you need to give your clients the opportunity to commit up front to their goals and preferred path of action. This helps your client in the right direction.
However, There Is One Problem Financial Planners Have to Solve First
As you can read in one of my ebooks, 97% of our clients don’t have goals.
No financial goals.
No goals at all.
Just think about it: have you ever had a client who – without you asking – says:
“My financial goal is ……………..”
Neither have I.
This means that what your clients actually do, is that they hide. They hide from themselves. They hide because when they don’t reach their goals they have to admit to themselves they were wrong.
And that’s pretty painful.
That’s why people need your help. You need to reassure them that it’s ok to express themselves. And guess what: people love you for that.
Because your clients only care about one thing – themselves.
And when you are helping them to express themselves, you are helping to make them feel good.
Is this easy? No.
Is this scary for you and your clients? Yes.
Does it have an impact? Yes, like a tsunami.
Do your clients appreciate this? Yes, they LOVE it.
How Do You Help Them Express Themselves?
You help them by taking them on a journey that goes 10% – 25% deeper than they normally go.
You see, one of the biggest ways people hide is by speaking in ‘symbolic language’. For example, if your client says:
“I’ve always wanted to be successful”, what do you think successful means?
What you think success means, can be completely different from what your client considers success. Your client might value success in money terms, while you might value success in lifestyle terms.
You and your client can use the same ‘language’ and assume you’re talking about the same thing, while you’re probably not.
This is disastrous. When you assume you understand your client – when you really don’t – you leave them feeling disconnected from you and themselves. It makes you and your client feel dissatisfied and uninspired.
Also, your client’s goals stay hidden.
Here's another example:
Client: “It's important to me that I leave a legacy when I die”
Financial Planner: “How big does your legacy needs to be”
In moments like this, your clients might keep hiding and because of that, they feel disconnected from you. You’ve engaged them in a conversation with nothing new or inspiring for them.
However, when you take your clients on that 10% – 25% journey, the ‘symbolic language’ of your client could be an opening opportunity. A chance to let your clients express themselves so that they can truly find their goals in life. In this situation the conversation could go like this:
Client: “It's important to me that I leave a legacy when I die"
Financial Planner: “Why is this important to you?”
Do you feel the difference?
With this approach, you are taking your client on a journey that’s new and self-revealing. Your client is now on his way to really finding his goals.
Now, there are many, many examples of your client’s ‘symbolic language’. Here are a few:
- ‘I’ve made some mistakes in the past’
- ‘We haven’t had good experiences with your industry’
- ‘I’m disorganized’
- ‘My wife and I come at money from different directions’
- ‘I have real growth plans for this year’
- ‘My values are everything to me’
- ‘I have difficulty making decisions’
- ‘I care about consistency’
- ‘I’m getting tired of product sellers’
- ‘I want to make this year the best year ever’
- ‘I can’t remember the last time I took time off’
This is what happens all the time in conversations with our clients. And guess what? You have a huge opportunity when your clients say things like this. You have the chance to empower your clients to express themselves.
China's Push Toward Excellence Delivers a Global Robotics Investment Opportunity
Written by: Jeremie Capron
China is on a mission to change its reputation from a manufacturer of cheap, mass-produced goods to a world leader in high quality manufacturing. If that surprises you, you’re not the only one.
For decades, China has been synonymous with the word cheap. But times are changing, and much of that change is reliant on the adoption of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence, or RAAI (pronounced “ray”). For investors, this shift is driving a major opportunity to capture growth and returns rooted in China’s rapidly increasing demand for RAAI technologies.
You may have heard of ‘Made in China 2025,’ the strategy announced in 2015 by the central government aimed at remaking its industrial sector into a global leader in high-technology products and advanced manufacturing techniques. Unlike some public relations announcements, this one is much more than just a marketing tagline. Heavily subsidized by the Chinese government, the program is focused on generating major investments in automated manufacturing processes, also referred to as Industry 4.0 technologies, in an effort to drive a massive transformation across every sector of manufacturing. The program aims to overhaul the infrastructure of China’s manufacturing industry by not only driving down costs, but also—and perhaps most importantly—by improving the quality of everything it manufactures, from textiles to automobiles to electronic components.
Already, China has become what is arguably the most exciting robotics market in the world. The numbers speak for themselves. In 2016 alone, more than 87,000 robots were sold in the country, representing a year-over-year increase of 27%, according to the International Federation of Robotics. Last month’s World Robot Conference 2017 in Beijing brought together nearly 300 artificial intelligence (AI) specialists and representatives of over 150 robotics enterprises, making it one of the world’s largest robotics-focused conference in the world to date. That’s quite a transition for a country that wasn’t even on the map in the area of robotics only a decade ago.
As impressive as that may be, what’s even more exciting for anyone with an eye on the robotics industry is the fact that this growth represents only a tiny fraction of the potential for robotics penetration across China’s manufacturing facilities—and for investors in the companies that are delivering or are poised to deliver on the promise of RAAI-driven manufacturing advancements.
Despite its commitment to leverage the power of robotics, automation and AI to meet its aggressive ‘Made in China 2025’ goals, at the moment China has only 1 robot in place for every 250 manufacturing workers. Compare that to countries like Germany and Japan, where manufacturers utilize an average of one robot for every 30 human workers. Even if China were simply trying to catch up to other countries’ use of robotics, those numbers would signal immense near-term growth. But China is on a mission to do much more than achieve the status quo. The result? According to a recent report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), in 2019 as much as 40% of the worldwide market volume of industrial robots could be sold in China alone.
To understand how the country can support such grand growth, just take a look at where and why robotics is being applied today. While the automotive sector has historically been the largest buyer of robots, China’s strategy reaches far and wide to include a wide variety of future-oriented manufacturing processes and industries.
Electronics is a key example. In fact, the electrical and electronics industry surpassed the automotive industry as the top buyer of robotics in 2016, with sales up 75% to almost 30,000 units. Assemblers such as Foxconn rely on thousands of workers to assemble today’s new iPhones. Until recently, the assembly of these highly delicate components required a level of human dexterity that robots simply could not match, as well as human vision to help ensure accuracy and quality. But recent advancements in robotics are changing all that. Industrial robots already have the ability to handle many of the miniature components in today’s smart phones. Very soon, these robots are expected to have the skills to bolster the human workforce, significantly increasing manufacturing capacity. Newer, more dexterous industrial robots are expected to significantly reduce human error during the assembly process of even the most fragile components, including the recently announced OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens that Samsung and Apple introduced on their latest mobile devices including the iPhone X. Advancements in computer vision are transforming how critical quality checks are performed on these and many other electronic devices. All of these innovations are coming together at just the right time for a country that is striving to create the world’s most advanced manufacturing climate.
Clearly, China’s trajectory in the area of RAAI is in hyper drive. For investors who are seeking a tool to leverage this opportunity in an intelligent and perhaps unexpected way, the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index may help. The ROBO Index already offers a vast exposure to China’s potential growth due to the depth and breadth of the robotics and automation supply chain. As China continues to improve its manufacturing processes to meet its 2025 initiative, every supplier across China’s far-reaching supply chains will benefit. Wherever they are located, suppliers of RAAI-related components—reduction gears, sensors, linear motion systems, controllers, and so much more—are bracing for spikes in demand as China pushes to turn its dream into a reality.
Today, around 13% of the revenues generated by the ROBO Global Index members are driven by China’s investments in robotics and automation. Tomorrow? It’s hard to say. But one thing is for certain: China’s commitment to improving the quality and cost-efficiency of its manufacturing facilities is showing no signs of slowing down—and its reliance on robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence is vital to its success.
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