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New Year, New View

By Janine Wertheim

As I reflected on 2014 and prepared my personal and business unit goals for 2015, I came across my notes from the 3rd Annual Ladenburg Institute of Women and Finance Conference, held in October. As often happens with conference notes, I had set them aside for later review, then become busy with other things. Within those notes, I found some great takeaways from the conference speakers that financial advisors can use to grow their business in 2015.

From Kathleen Burns Kingsbury, wealth psychology expert and author of “How to Give Financial Advice to Couples”

Disagreement – or at least misalignment – is common in marriages. It’s not surprising that 53 percent of couples don’t agree on the age at which they will retire; 47 percent of couples don’t agree on whether they will work in retirement; and only 38 percent of couples meet jointly with a financial advisor. Understanding the myths and truths about conflict, and helping client couples move past conflict to create a common retirement plan, lets advisors deepen the relationship and retain or obtain more assets. Those myths and truths are:

  1. Conflict is a game with a winner and a loser. Truth: The goal is to be understood.
  2. Conflict is bad and should be avoided. Truth: Conflict is healthy.
  3. Conflict skills are innate. Truth: Conflict skills are learned.

From Barbara McVicker, eldercare expert and author of “Stuck in the Middle: Caring for Mom and Dad”

Are your clients ready to become caregivers? It never happens at a convenient time, and it always involves sacrifices. Of the 75 million adults in the U.S. serving as caregiver for one or both parents, two-thirds also work. Eighty-five percent of eldercare is done by family members, so it is highly likely many of your clients could be taking care of their parents for as long as they took care of their kids. The average amount a caregiver loses in wages and benefits is $300,000, which may put the caregiver’s own retirement at risk. Advisors who understand the phases of caregiving and the affect it has on the caregiver’s health, relationships and finances will be well positioned to help clients and gain referrals.

5 Phases of Caregiving:

  1. Realization it may be coming: Get ahead of the crisis
  2. Crisis
  3. Continuous care (fragile years)
  4. End of life (saying goodbye)
  5. Mourning (life after caregiving)

Tips for Advisors:

  • Serve as a bridge between generations
  • Initiate conversations between clients and their adult children or clients and their parents
  • Preservation of wealth (has to last longer)
  • Add professional objectivity
  • Listen and understand

From Crystal Thies, LinkedIn Ninja and author of “The Social Media Handbook for Financial Advisers”

LinkedIn was originally built for job seekers, but your profile for attracting the type of people with whom you want to do business needs a different focus. Your headline (the Title field on the profile form) is the most important field of your LinkedIn profile. It should say what you do functionally, who you serve and the results you get. It should also include your search engine optimization phrase. Your summary is your primary message, not your biography. Write it in first person voice and present tense. LinkedIn’s search function, especially at the Premium membership level, is a powerful tool for financial advisors. LinkedIn even wrote a blog about how financial advisors can help people find them.

From Ann Hughes, consultant, speaker and author of “The Female Affect” and “Women Winning in Financial Services: Why Clients Choose You”

The number of female advisors in the U.S. has not grown significantly in 20 years, and the percentage of women in the industry is well below the national average of women in other job sectors. The traits common among successful female professionals are the same characteristics that clients want from their financial professionals. This makes women highly qualified to exceed clients’ expectations.

The Traits of Successful Women:

  • Possess a profit motive
  • Audacity
  • Resilience
  • Engagement
  • Self-awareness
  • Non-attachment (can change course if what they are doing is not working)
  • Financial know-how
  • Confidence

Ann’s comments on confidence were particularly inspiring. Confidence is not about smarts, she said. It’s about having the courage to use our abilities. Confidence is the difference between settling and excelling.

Here’s wishing you the gift of confidence in the new year – have the courage to use your abilities, adapt and adopt the trends outlined above, and excel!