As a society, we pay a very high price to keep silent about money. Why is it that many Americans feel more comfortable talking about politics, taxes, death or religion?
Our hangup about money conversations contribute to “50% of first marriages ending in divorce, 70% of families failing to successfully pass down their wealth to future generations, and 69% of parents feeling more comfortable talking to their teenagers about sex than investing,” according to Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, wealth psychology expert.1
As a long-time veteran of the financial industry, this is one area where I think all financial advisers should excel. We are uniquely qualified and positioned to talk to our clients about their money, yet it seems few really do so. Have real conversations I mean.
Instead, the focus from many in the industry is on products, rates of return, earnings, and the like. Sure these things are all important, but they sometimes fail to get to the heart of the matter.
What does having money mean to you and what do you want it to do for you?
After working with many women, both single and married, I would say about 70% don’t feel like they have any real communication with their financial adviser. While this is an issue not solely related to females, it appears especially prominent among women who don’t feel they are being listened to and that their worries as well as their goals, are not being heard or acknowledged.
I think the industry is partly responsible for this problem. Although many trade publications, industry conferences and adviser training programs tout the importance of interpersonal communication skills, they also focus heavily on how to maximize returns, create impressive charts and graphs, and emphasize the technical aspects of investing. Generally, there is little to no emphasis on meaningful conversations to identify issues of concern and help solve real problems. It is no wonder that some potential clients don’t recognize the value in an adviser who possess high emotional intelligence, listens well and recognizes that the things that aren’t said need attention as well.
Fulfilling a fiduciary responsibility means to act in the best interest of the client. I feel this also includes encouraging money conversations and empowering families to talk about finances before, during and after all life transitions such as going off to college, getting married, buying a home, having a baby, starting a business, getting divorced, potentially becoming widowed, acknowledging sexuality, remarrying , getting older, retirement, or needing healthcare services.
It’s time to open the conversations about money.
For encouragement and help in having conversations about money, consider the help of a financial adviser who possesses the “soft skills” as well as the technical. This could help you work toward a much more meaningful life plan and be better able to answer the questions about what you want your money to do for you and what it means to you. For a financial adviser that strives to meet your emotional needs call us at (732) 364-5462 to start the conversation today.
Written by Kathleen Nolan, CRPC®
Kathy Nolan is a Charted Retirement Planning Counselor and holds the CRPC® designation from the College of Financial Planning
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