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Financial Planning > Tax Planning

Advisors: Do Your Clients Know What They Want?

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The clearer your intentions, the better the outcome you can expect to achieve. This sounds simple enough, but the very concept of becoming clear on one’s intentions involves doing something difficult: saying no.

You may argue that saying no is easy, but that’s not really true. Take this example: What if I offer you the choice of a fully paid trip to Hawaii or a fully paid trip to Des Moines, Iowa. Which do you choose? Easy, Des Moines, right? Wait, what? Why would anyone say no to Hawaii? But what if the child you and your spouse have been hoping to adopt for six years is being born tonight in Des Moines? Well, then, you’d be packing your bags for Iowa.

Choosing investments or insurance products offers the same reason to take pause. After all, mutual funds and exchange traded funds both offer an opportunity to diversify among asset classes. So which is better? Wrong question! Instead, the question should be which is better for a 62-year-old with $1.7 million in investable assets, considerable investing experience, immediate income needs, a high tax bracket and concerns over inflation?

You see, advisors have a tough job, but it’s one with incredible opportunity baked in. We ask thoughtful, probing questions until we arrive at the client’s clearest intentions. We help clients anticipate the consequences of their decisions as they relate to future tax consequences, income and liquidity needs, risk exposure and asset transfer to heirs. Without a definable and consistent process to determine a client’s intentions, the choices are simply too vast and too difficult to align with the client’s desired outcomes. In other words, we help people say no to options that don’t fit their needs and yes to those that do.

Without clarity, you might as well buy any old financial product. Maybe it will grow in value or maybe it won’t, but who can control these things? With clear intentions, you can.

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Adam Cufr is a founding principal of Fourth Dimension Financial Group, LLC. He is the creator of the web-based coaching program The Life Insurance Blueprint, a prolific blogger, and an expert author on Ezine Articles. For more information, go to


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