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Why 97% of Your Clients Don’t Have Financial Goals and What to Do About It


Why 97% of Your Clients Don't Have Financial Goals and What to Do About It

There’s a myth about the success of setting goals.

Back in 1953, Harvard University conducted a study on the graduating class. They discovered that only 3% of the graduating seniors had clear, predetermined objectives for their lives.

Twenty years later, another survey was performed with the group. The results showed that the 3% group – the group that set goals and committed those goals to paper – accomplished more in their lives than the 97% who had not written their goals down!

However, there also seems to be evidence that this myth isn’t true.

Now, you can call me pigheaded, but I strongly believe that this myth most certainly IS true. Here’s why:

In my career as a financial planner, there hasn’t been a single client who has come to me and said:

“Ronald, you’ve got to help me with my financial goals.”

When asking clients about their financial goals, the reaction I hear most is:

“What do you mean Ronald?”

When asking clients what they would write down if they had to put their own financial goals on paper, I most commonly hear:

“Can you help me, Ronald?”

Does this sound familiar?

Now, I believe in goals. And even though setting goals is almost a guarantee for more success, 97% of American people have never set any (financial) goals in a proper way.


  • Martin Luther King wanted peace for both white and black people
  • Steve Jobs wanted people to challenge the status quo
  • Michael Jackson wanted to bring joy and happiness through his music
  • Sam Walton wanted people to save money to help them live better lives
  • John F. Kennedy wanted to send an American to the moon

And the list goes on and on.


Still, 97% of all people don’t set (financial) goals.

Why is that?

Well, there are 3 basic reasons why your clients don’t have goals:


Told, yes. Sold, no.

Suppose you were to receive a phone call tomorrow from an old and respected friend who says:

“I’ve got amazing news for you. You’re invited to take a three-day trip to Hawaii with our group and it won’t cost you a thing. We leave tomorrow at 8:00 am and have room for two more people. We’ll travel on a private jet and stay at a villa at the beach”.

You tell your friend you don’t know if you can make it. But the minute you hang up, you and your spouse start thinking and planning.

Out comes your pen and paper, and you commit to writing down all the things you must get done so you can go on the trip.

Next, you list them in order of importance. Finally, you delegate some of the responsibilities to others.

Then, you call your friend back and say, “Hey, I’ve been checking my schedule, and we can make the trip”.

Now, do you notice that with a destination in mind, you would do more in 24 hours than you would normally do in days or even weeks?


Because you LOVE the goal. Your friend sold you the goal and you went for it.


Do you have those clients who think they have a goal? They focus on ‘the number’.

The number is a meaningless moving target.

Can you imagine when your client tells you that his ‘number’ is $2,000,000? And when he gets there, he’ll say:

“Oh, I guess that number doesn’t really make me feel like I’m there. Maybe it’s $5,000,000 that would have me feeling okay”.

The feeling of security or knowing that we’ll be okay typically isn’t related to ‘the number’. But rather our beliefs about what ‘okay’ is.


Why does a ship sail? It’s safer in the harbor, right? Why does a plane fly? It’s safer on the ground, right?

Why does your client set goals? It’s safer not to, right? Something bad might happen.

The ship might sink, the plane might crash and your client might have to admit to himself he was wrong. Wrong about himself.

If your client doesn’t make it, he will have a built-in explanation that he didn’t really fail because he never set those goals.

But, if the ship does not sail, it becomes unseaworthy even faster in the harbor. The plane rusts much faster on the ground.

Yes, there is danger in setting financial goals, but the risk is infinitely greater when your client doesn’t set goals.

The reason is simple. Just as ships are meant to sail, planes are meant to fly and people are meant to matter.

Your client has a purpose. Your client wants meaning in his life.

It’s your job to make your client’s money and life meaningful to them.


There are 4 things you can do to help your clients create their goals and help them achieve them. 


Almost every (potential) client you serve or are going to serve won’t have a financial goal. 

Then why do you pretend they do? 

Because almost every financial planner puts on his website, advertises in brochures or says in meetings, something like this: 

They say: “We help you to achieve your financial goals”.

But do you think that resonates with your clients, knowing that 97% of all people don’t even have financial goals? 

Of course in reality, when you do your job as a financial planner well, you will discover your client’s financial goals. In fact, you need to know your client’s goals, to really help them.

But remember, your clients NEVER use the words ‘financial goal’. 

If you do use this phrase, you’ll leave your clients behind with question marks in their minds. 

Instead, try this: 

  •  “We help [target audience] who feel responsible for their families.” 
  •  “We help [target audience] who want to feel inspired about their own future.” 
  •  “We help [target audience] who want 100% guarantees.” 
  •  “We help [target audience] who want no hassles and fast service.” 
  •  “We help [target audience] who want to do it themselves (with a little help).” 
  •  “We help [target audience] who want to be our friends.” 
  •  “We help [target audience] who care about [………].” 


Sell what your client wants. 

What does your client want? What does your client really love? 

Your client loves himself. Your client loves the memory of how things make him feel. 

When that old respected friend calls you for the trip to Hawaii, you immediately see yourself lying on the beach, with the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. With your favorite drink in one hand and the book you always wanted to read in the other. 

So what you should do is to give your client a story that taps into his emotional right hemisphere. And which makes him feel great. 

Now that’s a goal your client will remember. I call this the iGoal. 


Imagine a mountain climber.

The enjoyment and the challenge of the mountain climber is the iGoal. Mount Everest is the BIG goal. 

Your clients want the iGoal. Your clients need the BIG goal. 


The BIG goal creates excitement that is necessary for maximum accomplishment. 

Just as mountaineers need Mount Everest to become excited, your client needs a financial goal to become motivated. 

Now, it’s unlikely that your client will become as excited by a financial goal compared to climbing Mount Everest. But you can be sure of the fact that without a goal, nothing will happen. A goal is necessary to enthuse motivation and action. 

That’s why your financial planning service is so important. 

It’s like climbing Mount Everest. What really satisfies mountain climbers, is the enjoyment and the challenge (the iGoal). And the same goes for your financial planning service.

Your service matters to your client if it appeals to your client’s iGoal.  

Here’s a FREE video course on How to Make People WANT Your Financial Planning Service (and How To Explain The Big Benefit of Financial Planning The Easy Way).

The purpose of your financial planning service is to create a journey to reach the BIG goal.  

It’s like the best way to the top of Mount Everest.

Your client needs to prepare for the journey or he won’t make it to the top. And you are the one that will guide your client. Or else he won’t make it. 

When your client decides to go on the journey and gives you permission to provide him with the necessary gear (investments) and to make preparations to prevent him from casualties (insurance) it should always direct him towards achieving the BIG goal.  


Think about this.

Do you think that mountain climbers feel more excited and joyful when they are at the top of Mount Everest or during the journey to the top

Sure, when he is at the top he feels as if he’s the King of the World…for a very short period of time. 

But actually, it’s not the top that is most exciting. It’s the challenging thought, imagining getting to the top, the preparation for the journey, the buying of the gear and clothes, the planning of how and what you’re going to eat, the danger of every step, the fear of overcoming the obstacles and the anticipation of being reunited with friends and family, which really brings the excited and joyful feelings. 

Yet, once the financial plan is created, and the money is invested or the products are sold, we (as financial planners) believe that we’ve helped our client to the top of Mount Everest. 

So, what do we do next? 

What we do is that we focus on what we think our clients need. We rationalize that what we do is in our client’s best interest. We focus on the financial goal, the products, the investments, the taxes etc.

Suddenly Mount Everest has become what we think is most important to our clients.

But remember. It’s not Mount Everest that your clients really want. It’s the journey that brings the excitement and joyfulness. 

It’s not the BIG – or financial – goal that makes your client happy. Your client LOVES the iGoal. Sure, the taxes, investments and all the other work we do is important. 

We always must do good work. But do you believe that our work is what your client really wants? 

I believe that our job should be that we remind our clients as often as possible of their iGoal. 

If you are able to make your client feel great during the journey, do you think he will be eager and motivated to reach his BIG goal and act on your financial plan?  

You’re right.

Now, it’s your turn – go out there and make your clients feel great. 

Just click here to grab your free video course.

You’ll learn:

  • How to Explain The Big Benefit of Financial Planning The Easy Way
  • The One and Only Thing You Need to Sell to Your Target Audience (it’s NOT financial planning)
  • How to Make People WANT Your Financial Planning Service (and Get 100+ Prospects in 24 Hours)

Here’s the link again. 

Have a great day!

Let’s make financial planning matter.

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