In this industry of providing financial advice, I define success as not only building a profitable practice, but also truly serving our clients, employees and community through the work we do. If I could identify the number one trait of a successful financial advisor for both today and tomorrow, it is the ability to truly understand your client.
However, oftentimes, there is a disconnect between us and how well we understand our clients. An April 2012 Charles Schwab study focused on this very issue, examining the views of both high-net-worth (HNW, meaning over $1 million in investable assets) investors and their advisors. In my view, some of the key disconnects are as follows:
• HNW investors think investing is easier than their advisors believe, and they also believe it is much more likely for them to meet their goals in this challenging market environment.
• While both HNW investors and advisors believe that retirement income should be the focus of the retirement financial plan, investors place a much greater emphasis on income than do their advisors.
• HNW investors want to have a greater focus on preservation of assets, with growth as a secondary goal.
• HNW investors most often move to a new advisor due to the desire for greater service, as well as a more holistic approach to their planning.