Recently, I spent the weekend in Houston, Texas. Most people would not think anything of it. However, after spending the last 16-20 weeks in northern Indiana with sub-freezing temperatures, the warmth of 80-degree days and sunshine made it feel like I was in a different world. I felt recharged, re-energized and refreshed with just a small change.
It made me think about our industry. How often do we as financial advisors get in a rut and need a fresh perspective? It seems we get in the habit of making successful sales presentations based upon one product filling a general solution. Too often, I hear advisors telling my firm they do not talk about longevity planning and insurance. Can we be so selfish and concerned about our own business as to not think it is our clients’ business that we must focus on for success? Yes, I speak and write about efficiency and effectiveness in financial services offices. But it's time to make sure our clients' retirements and legacies remain effective and efficient, first and foremost.
For example, all of us have a responsibility to have a meaningful discussion with our clients about the impact of Congress' potential decision to accelerate the taxation on retirement accounts to the next generation. This might be the most destructive piece of legislation introduced, and I would guess that 90 percent of our clients are unaware of what Congress wants to do.
Clients expect leadership from their advisors. We must continue to earn their trust by having the difficult conversation that we don't want to have with them – the one about death and taxes. Positioning a client’s assets for flexibility, income and estate planning should be our focus. That means that we need a fresh perspective with every client we meet, just like the change in temperature. We must be up to date on our tax legislation, product offerings, and solutions available for unique strategies. Focusing on those aspects important to the client will ultimately define our success as an industry.
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