The new year is upon us and, more than likely, we’re seeing family, friends, and colleagues hit the gym again, begin bringing salads to lunch and vowing to finally find a ‘work-life balance’ as they strive to make and keep New Year’s Resolutions. While there is plenty of evidence to prove that making New Year’s Resolutions don’t really work, there is certainly value in creating goals and taking actions to achieve them. As a financial advisor, there are some goals (and yes, we can call them resolutions) that are perfectly tailored to you and will not only help you improve as a person but also a business person. Here are the top three resolutions that are best for you as you continue to grow your business.
1. Set a Goal to Become Your Best Self
As an advisor, you will often find yourself giving advice to your clients on much more than just their financial planning. When you develop a relationship with your clients, they will start to see you as a mentor and a counselor as well as a financial advisor. When you begin getting inquiries on ways to get healthier or books to read for a fuller life, you know that you’ve achieved a higher status with your clients and, let me tell you from experience, you’d better have your ducks in a row.
What do I mean by this? A client can always tell when you’re giving advice and you’re not ‘eating your own cooking’. Why should they listen to you tell them about having good work/life balance when it’s pretty obvious you’ve been working 80-hour weeks and haven’t had dinner with your family in months? When you make strides toward being the best version of yourself, not just best financial planner, your clients will take notice.
2. Focus on Being a Fiduciary
Okay, okay, I know it’s a ten-dollar word, but what ‘fiduciary’ pretty much boils down to is trust. As a fiduciary, your obligation to your client is both a moral and a legal one. It’s important to realize that just because something is ‘legal’, it doesn’t mean that it’s right. When you’re giving advice to a client, you need to not only look at what might make them (or you) money, you also need to look at the larger pictures and guide them in making a decision that makes sense for their future.
Building trust takes time. For your clients to truly trust you, you must show them over and over that, you are helping them make good decisions and all it takes to make that trust crumble is one wrong move. No financial advisor training can teach you how to be moral—it something you have to instill within yourself. When you focus on being a fiduciary, you’re relying on your moral best-self and focusing on the long-term health of your clients and your business.
3. Learn to be a Financial Caregiver
If you’ve read anything on how to be a financial advisor, it’s unlikely that the word ‘caregiver’ has popped up. You’ve likely heard the word ‘counselor’ and definitely been hit over the head with the word ‘consultant’, but ‘caregiver’ is probably a new one to you.
I love this word because it makes your career about so much more than just giving financial advice. When you work with a client, you should not only care about their investments and their retirement, you should also care about them. Maybe a decision looks good on paper, but if you actually know and care about the client, you might see that it makes no sense for them in the real world. When we see ourselves as caregivers, we realize that our advice and our decisions are affecting real people who we have developed a relationship with, and this makes all the difference in the world.
What are your goals for 2017? If you’ve simply written a bunch of numbers down and plan to ‘shatter your sales goals’, you’re not seeing the big picture. When you focus on who you are as a person and building a trusting relationship with those under your care, you change the game. Let’s try to focus on what being an advisor really means in the new year!
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How I grew my advisory to $140 million in assets under management, working 15 hours a week & with one employee