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The New Year offers us a special opportunity to reflect on where we are in our lives and show our appreciation to others.

So does February.

The winter holidays were bustling days filled with shopping, travelling, entertaining and more.

Now that they’ve passed, you can play an important role in maintaining your clients’ health, prosperity and happiness throughout the year — and throughout the rest of their years.

Here are three simple suggestions that I offer my advisors.

1. Keep an open door.

The New Year was hectic for many as we juggled our budgets with our wish lists and our daily routines with the frenetic pace of travel and family visits. Many of your clients were searching for answers and advice online.

Now that the wrapping paper has been discarded and the rush is past, nothing reinforces the importance of your unique relationship with them like an open door. 

An email can serve as an invitation for clients to stop by your office with financial questions- big or small- that may have arisen during the holiday season.

You might also consider giving them a few pointers on a postcard to make it through the winter  with their priorities (a.k.a. what’s really important in their lives) intact.

2. Spark family conversation.

Now that you’ll be inviting clients to touch base with you, take it one step further and invite them to bring their grown children, aging parents or other close family members who might be visiting.

While many Americans shy away from discussing finances (or things that could impact their finances) with their family, an astounding 80 percent will eventually provide some form of long-term care to a loved one. (AgeWave, Our Family, Our Future, October 2010).

The issue is important for your clients and their families to neglect candid conversation and planning while they’re all together, happy and healthy.

I know a few of you are wondering why on earth your clients would want to turn their attention to these conversations now.

The reality is that when we make an intention to tackle a challenge ahead of time we may reduce our stress, bringing ourselves and our loved ones much needed sense of security. We also embark on a path that will help us reach our goals rather than stare like deer in the headlights when something goes awry.

Throughout my years as a long-term care insurance specialist, I have spent many days offering my insight and guidance to families in their advisors’ offices, sometimes going well into the chilly evening hours. I never once came across a family member who wasn’t grateful for the opportunity to talk with their family and a professional on hand about future plans. In fact, clients seemed to hit a more confident stride as they left the office knowing that everyone was on the same page.

Lifting the “we’ll cross that bridge when we get there” burden that many of us carry around throughout the year will help you and your clients plan better for many years to come. 

3. Create a 2013 challenge.

Lastly, move ahead in the year by creating a challenge and encouraging your clients to do the same.

I tell advisors to start with an area that is easy to rectify and will offer immediate returns for them and their clients: Team up with other pro’s!

You know what you bring to the table by way of your financial expertise, experience and probably stellar graph charts. But are you an accountant well versed in the latest tax provisions, or an insurance specialist up to date with the latest rules?

Have you ever cared for an aging parent no longer able to live on their own while you’re juggling your own work, budget and family? Most of us are only specialists in one or two areas, so, to get the most out of the next 11 months, invite specialists in other fields to speak with you and your clients to ensure all of their bases are covered.

When your clients see that you have their back in more areas than one, they will come to you for guidance and follow your advice- this year and the many that follow.

Wishing you a Wonderful 2013!