The balance between simplicity and sophistication
Historically, the financial services industry has been divided into two camps: transactional advisors and comprehensive planners. To maximize the success we have with our clients, there are important lessons and traits we can adopt from each.
Transactional advisors act as specialists, helping their clients facilitate the purchase of individual products like mutual funds, investment portfolios, or insurance products. These advisors excel at keeping things simple, helping them convert a high volume of prospects into clients, but sometimes they lack a holistic outlook on how their recommendations impact other areas of a client’s financial well-being.
With the rise of industry regulation, ease of access to products, and an abundance of consumer information easily available, transactional advisors are seeing the need to move toward becoming a planner. These advisors can become intimidated with complex financial planning software, they don’t want to spend hours doing data entry, and they don’t have a proven planning process to follow.
Comprehensive planners bring value to a client by building a sophisticated financial plan using knowledge and expertise obtained through industry designations like the Certified Financial Planner™ (CFP®), Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®), or Retirement Income Certified Professional (RICP®), to name a few. These advisors typically solve complex challenges clients face by ensuring that the pieces of a client’s financial life are integrated and efficient. However, recommendations are often presented in a complex manner, confusing the client and resulting in an inability to understand and a reluctance to move forward.
The comprehensive planner may think everyone wants to see a detailed financial plan, but the reality is that most clients struggle to understand the first five pages of such a report. That confusion can cause them to not implement your recommendations. There is a critical need to deliver a simplified plan that a client understands.
The Bucket Plan Best Interest Process:
Whether you are a transactional advisor wanting to become a planner, or a comprehensive planner looking for a way to simplify your recommendations and plan deliverable, The Bucket Plan® is your solution.
“Simplicity is the Ultimate Sophistication” – Leonardo Da Vinci
If your business has been transactional and you need to progress into planning to stay competitive, The Bucket Plan® Best Interest Process can help by providing a step-by-step roadmap, with every script, tool, and template necessary to follow throughout the planning process with your client.
The process is built so that you are educating the consumer each step of the way. By the end of the process, you will have gathered all the data necessary to deliver a simple plan to implement your recommendations, while ensuring you are meeting the best interest standard.
For comprehensive planners, investments, taxes, insurance, legal, Social Security, Medicare, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etc., are all complex topics that can quickly overwhelm the average American consumer. We have licenses, designations, and years of experience navigating these complex topics and decisions points, but it is an art form to simplify the plan so your client can understand and have the confidence to move forward with your recommendations. Complex financial planning software is great, but it won’t motivate the client to do business with you.
Planners may associate simplicity with lack of sophistication, but that is far from the truth. At a conference I attended about seven years ago, a very accomplished financial planner, speaking on the main stage, stated that “if the plan can’t fit on two napkins, it won’t work.” He was being a little overzealous in getting his point across, but his message was loud and clear – simple sells.
The Bucket Plan philosophy simplifies plans in a way the general public can understand. Segmenting money into three buckets based on the time horizon, income needs, tax qualification, and the client’s goals doesn’t take complex software, but allows the planner to layer in as much sophistication as they desire behind the scenes.
When we take our car to a mechanic for repairs, we want a high-level assessment of what is wrong and what is needed to make the repairs. Unless you are an engineer or interested in automotive repairs, you probably don’t want an entire documented plan on what it takes to perform them. This is no different than how we should deliver our financial plans.
The Bucket Plan takes something complex and makes it simple to visualize. Once prospects understand their plan, the probability and pace at which they act on your recommendations will increase.
For more information about The Bucket Plan, download The Bucket Plan Whitepaper below!
To validate his commitment to furthering his education and competency in the advice he provides, Dave has earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation, Enrolled Agent and Certified Financial Fiduciary® designation.
He has served as a mentor and trainer to hundreds of financial planners, CPAs and estate planning attorneys as well as a frequent speaker at industry conferences through the United States.
He is regularly called upon as a public speaker and by the media to share his knowledge on holistic financial planning, including Bloomberg, MarketWatch, Forbes Investor’s Business Daily, US News and World Report, Financial Planning Magazine and more.
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