by Tony Vidler
The typical financial planning report or statement of advice produced for clients is ineffective.
Being effective means getting the key points across as quickly and as simply as possible, so that the reader understands them, and is then able to make decisions relatively quickly and easily.
Part of the reason for the written reports being ineffective is the “compliance” hurdle, where we include sections and wording that confuse many clients in order to met regulatory requirements. But that is only part of the reason to be fair.
The bigger problem is that there is a tendency to try and impress with technical prowess, or data that require code-breakers to decipher, or graphs that take 3 minutes of concentrated finger-tracing to follow. That is not effective communication.
To create an effective report it is best to pretend you were preparing it for a group such as a presentation to a conference, or a group of company executives in a boardroom. After all, most of the time we ARE preparing a client report for a group….a group consisting of a husband and wife, or a group of 2 or 3 business partners….but that is a group nevertheless.
If we were preparing for a boardroom presentation or a conference we know the following to be true:
Now, consider this typical financial plan graphic in light of that little checklist.
Can your Financial Plan or Statement of Advice be made more effective without pages and pages and pages of this sort of thing?
I am willing to bet that 9 out of 10 consumers would answer “yes”. The other 10% probably fell asleep while trying to read through it all…