Objection: The client is uncomfortable sharing details of their finances with family members. If this is an issue with a client, you need to have frank conversation to tell him he is doing his family members a great disservice by leaving them in the dark. Encourage the client to include the spouse and children whenever appropriate.
“We assure clients that they control when or if children or grandchildren get access to personal information,” Hartley says. “In nearly every instance the ‘personal information’ they are referring to is financial. Once we re-frame the conversation with our clients around the (previously mentioned) three forms of capital, it becomes much easier to help them engage in sharing information of a non-financial nature, including their values, wisdom and vision for the future. Clients become much more interested in the process.”
Richards agrees that privacy is the big issue in most cases. He advises previewing your presentation with your client prior to involving the family member to reassure the client that he can control how much and what type of information will be shared.
Objection: Children and grandchildren of clients want to have their own advisor. “Children of key clients sometimes resist dealing with their parents’ advisor. They want an advisor of their own,” Richards says. “One way to address this is to have a younger associate work with the children of clients.”Another good argument you can make is continuity. By working with the same advisory firm, children and grandchildren of clients can have a familiarity with the portfolio, and can rest assured that aspects of the wealth transfer will not slip through the cracks as they might when an advisor from a different firm takes control of an inheritance.
“The parents feel good knowing that their children’s questions are answered and the children know what their roles are now and in the future,” Rettick says. “Too many times financial/estate plans are not together and do not involve the children/heirs, which is very counterproductive in the long run.”
Objection: My children don’t know anything about investing. Who better to teach children about the importance of financial planning than a client’s planner? If a successful wealth transfer is the goal, you need to make an effort to educate the next generation whenever the opportunity arises.
“Our approach of developing learning maps for each child that are appropriate to their age and stage of life is designed to increase the confidence of the parent and the child incrementally,” Hartley says.
Objection: I don’t want to spend more money than I am now. “We help our clients understand that the Human Capital component of their wealth is the most important and long-lasting, and that their Financial Capital is a resource that helps them optimize the Human Capital component over time,” Hartley says. “Additional expenses then can be seen as investments in their Human Capital portfolio rather than just a depletion of their Financial Capital portfolio.”
Making connections with the children and grandchildren of your clients can be tricky and can often be met with resistance. But growing “family trees” can usually be accomplished when you use the right approach in the right situation. The time and effort you spend, Richards says, can be some of the best you spend all year.
“If you have done this process correctly, the odds of losing a client is small,” Rettick says. “Statistically, many advisors will have a client leave them after the death of a spouse, but if both spouses and the children are on board, that should not be an option.”