by Tony Vidler
Many question the value of the financial planner, and there has been plenty of research in recent years to attempt to quantify that value. Quantifying value of advice is a recipe for debate, as the actual difference in net worth or security which can be attributed to the work of the planner by a client will vary enormously from year to year, let alone from client to client. I have no coubt that good financial planners help protect estates and enhance the value of them, and am sure that matters to clients. I am just not sure that it matters as much as the rest of what good financial planners do.
Professional financial planners fix more than finance issues; they help clarify clients’ futures, manage their emotions and behaviour, and help with financial strategies. It is this combination which lies at the heart of determining the real value of financial planning.
While there have been many studies into the value of financial planning the one which struck the greatest chord for me was one done in Canada a few years ago. The research was conducted over a significant number of consumers (15,000 or so) and over a reasonably extended period of about 3 years. The key objective of that study was to try and determine what value consumers derived from financial planning.
Here’s my succinct summary of all that work:
The majority of clients who engaged in comprehensive planning felt more in control of their finances, and their future and had better feelings about their ability to meet the tempests of life.
The results didn’t just suggest that clients felt better about the future either, as there was a very strong element of them being able to enjoy a better lifestyle today as well. That is; there was actual financial benefit as well as emotional benefits. More consumers were prepared for financial bumps, were having the vacations and lifestyle they wanted, and felt they were on track to continue doing so.
The result: those who engage in full financial planning have significantly higher levels of financial and emotional well-being.
If you want to find a strong message to build into your marketing, perhaps into your core value proposition, you could do a lot worse that tap into the formula of “financial management + your feelings = a good future”. That’s what financial planning is about really, isn’t it?