Its Friday afternoon and I am reflecting on my week, I have seen several new clients’ faces this week, we sit at the large table in my office, next to one another and our journeys begin. Each one has come to me having already had a journey of; hard work, sometimes ill health, separation, the end of a long and successful career, often the death of a loved one. The beginning of each story is the statement, “I need some on advice investing my money.”
Our discussion does not start there, sometimes does not end there; we have other matters to address first. With one new client’s permission, this is her story.
After many years of living with her partner, the relationship has come to an end, the anguish on her face telling its own story. She is now faced with, not only the stressful details of separation, but also coming to terms with making her own lifestyle, financial and investment decisions. She, wants to move on and learn about investing for herself, she no longer wishes to be reliant on the decisions of others.
So, her money comes to my table with all the pain of her recent decisions and the beginning of her ability to take some steps for herself. My role is to respect that journey and to hold her hand as she takes tentative steps towards taking control for herself. I need to provide her with education about investing so that she will understand what we will recommend in the future.
So, many steps before giving her written advice; she will need to update her Will, she is just beginning to consider where she will be able to reside, she wishes to manage her own pension account and does not understand the process. There are many more decisions she will need to make, all of them new to her. At the same time, she is coming to grips with being on her own. Fortunately, we can assist, we can hold her hand through most of the decisions and the processes along the way. This is not just about investing her money. That will come later.
There was much in our meeting together that she did not say, I needed to draw her out, it was obvious that sharing what she has been through, was needed and cathartic. We will give sound advice in the near future, but for now we have a different role and one we all embrace in my office.
In providing value, the following skills are so important:
UNDERSTAND your client’s needs & fears
ENGAGE with your client’s story
ENCOURAGE setting goals
know that decisions require EMOTION
LISTEN for what is NOT said (body language)
ACKNOWLEDGE client’s success
BUILD client self esteem
RESPECT where your client’s money came from
We all, as advisers, have these meetings, we engage and take on some of the client’s emotions but I was wondering what it really is that I can add and I think the value I bring to the table is; my personal experience, my professional knowledge, my emotional understanding. Most importantly I did not inherently have all the necessary skills, I have had to learn them over the years, for instance the skill to listen, the skill to observe and the necessary skill to draw out the clients’ story.
Every adviser has had a different journey, a different history and that is part of their value.
Eleanor Dartnall (AR 285743), & Dartnall Advisers Pty Ltd (AR 299568) are Authorised Representatives of Magnitude Group Pty Ltd • ABN 54 086 266 202 • AFSL 221557 •
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