In one of the opening sessions at the FPA Retreat in Scottsdale, Ariz., on Saturday, David Yeske told attendees that the role of financial planners is one of true strategists and, more specifically, he explained to the audience how to work with clients in the context of ongoing and enduring change.
“As Gautama Buddha said, change is the fundamental nature of reality,” Yeske, co-founder and a managing director of Yeske Buie, a wealth management firm, explained. “But man constantly struggles with change. The leading cause of illness is depression, and the leading cause of depression is change.”
Adapting to change, he added, is our only option, and how we do it is what matters.
He then described three types of change: environmental change, such as death, disability, divorce and other “negatives,” as well as inheritances, financial windfalls and other types of “positive” change; volitional change, or aspirations for a better life; and life-cycle changes that inevitably come from simply living our lives.
“Financial planners’ most powerful role is that of strategist and change agent,” he said. “He has to help the client to position for, and adapt to, change. He must facilitate volitional change and help smooth environmental and life-cycle change.”
Yeske then moved to a discussion of the five financial strategy modes. They are:
1) Planner driven. The planner supposedly knows what the client wants and needs before the client ever walks through the door. It’s a case in which “every problem looks like a nail, and every solution is therefore a hammer. Our literature is aspirational, and shuns this mode, but this usually ends up the predominant mode.”
2) Data driven. This is the “ancient thread” in financial planning, one that was adapted from economics and finance and applied to the planning field.
3) Policy driven. This is centrally planned; one that involves rapid decision making.
4) Relationship driven. This involves life planning and “interior dimensional work.”