Every advisor wants clients to think that he or she is unique, different, better than the competition. Maybe you are.But if your retirement planning with them stops at calculating their planned retirement income and preserving their assets, you’re not extraordinary. It takes more than that to be outstanding.Standing out among the others means that you are looking at the client’s entire life and relationship to their family members. Acquiring the courage and skill to do that is how you distinguish yourself from the next advisor down the street or anywhere. So how do you do that? Aren’t you just supposed to do a good job managing the money?Advising about and managing the money is your essential bedrock, and then there is service above and beyond. That’s the unique play, going beyond average. It’s not so hard to do, but it may be outside your usual comfort zone. You assess. You discuss difficult subjects clients may not want to talk about. You take the time. You communicate more often than the next guy or gal. You offer tools. You become a sort of coach, encouraging a retiree or soon-to-be-retired client to do things that will make life easier for everyone around them. Your guidance can help not only your client, but every person whose life is touched by what your client does and fails to do. Most will likely think how wonderfully unusual you are for doing this. The average advisor won’t bother with any of it but not being ordinary, you can shine.Let’s start with one tool you can use, created at AgingInvestor . In this article, we address the first item on our Ten Step Checklist For Smart Retirees. The first step is:
“Decide whom you want to communicate with about your future. Set a date and sit down together.”This sounds simple but it’s not. Clients’ families frequently have poor communication about aging, the potential for needing help, and finances. The elders may want secrecy. Everyone may be afraid to talk about end of life. Although wealthier folks usually do better with estate planning than the less wealthy, not everyone takes the time to update their legal documents and your client’s loved ones need to know this. If you, the advisor encourage a family meeting (or friends meeting if there is no family) specifically about basic topics in your client’s future, that can get the ball rolling on communication about other essential matters related to getting older. The communication must address the real risk of becoming impaired with aging. The checklist is a guide for your client, a place to start. If a client does these steps, it will save everyone enormous and avoidable aggravation later.Our checklist has ten steps in it. We’ll go through all the ten steps and why they are crucial in subsequent posts. Get your copy today and consider having a conversation with every client age 55 and older in your book about the checklist. You hand it out to them and discuss how to use it. You can bring it up at portfolio review, on the client’s birthday or at the time of retirement. If you want to set yourself apart, talking about things besides the client’s income in retirement will indeed set you apart.