Valuing the TIME you sell…and save.
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Valuing the TIME you sell...and save.

January 26, 2018

by Tony Vidler  CFP logo   CLU logo  ChFC logo

imagesOne of the most valuable things that financial advisers do for clients is to save the clients own time.

 

How powerful would it be to quantify that in dollar terms for a client?

 

Everyone knows the maxim “time is money”.  Everyone knows that all of us are perpetually trading off one against the other; spending money to save time; or; spending time to save money.

 

Most clients of financial advisers have busy lives and are continually trading off time against money in the pursuit of a better quality of life.

So why don’t we put it in dollar terms when we talk to clients about some of the value that financial advisers create?

 

Instead of telling them how much time we are selling them for our expertise, tell them how much time of theirs that the fee can save.

 

Let’s use an example:

  • there are 8,766 hours in a year.
  • the client earns $100,000 p.a.
  • each hour is worth at least $11.41 nominally therefore
  • most clients use personal time to work on their personal finances though, so it would be more fair to say that the hours available are closer to 2,505 per year.
  • so the “cost” for a client working on their own financial plan is closer to $40/hour

 

How many hours are involved in putting together a strategy covering all facets of personal financial planning, and then implementing it, and then monitoring it and adjusting along the way?

 

For a professional planner who is on top of their game it will probably take about:

  • 14 hours meeting and putting together the plan to begin with
  • 4 hours in implementation tasks
  • 4 hours per annum reviewing

 

So the financial planner – who is at the top of their game is putting in 22 hours of work for the client each year.

(do we ever actually tell clients that by the way?)

 

How long would it take an intelligent, well educated client who is time poor to actually do the same thing?

 

I estimate that it would take the DIY (do it yourself) consumer something like:

  • 40 hours reading minimum in a self help book or two
  • 60 hours putting together the plan and researching the technical aspects (e.g.asset allocation, specific investments, researching risk products, investigating taxation elements, and so on)
  • 10 hours implementing chosen strategies or products
  • 20 hours per year reviewing

 

So the DIY consumer is probably going to invest about 130 hours in doing what a professional will spend 22 hours doing.  The “cost” to the DIY person is about $5,200 at their own hourly rate – but the opportunity and lost “life” cost?  In practical terms we can put an immediate value upon a plan though: it is the cost to them less the cost we would charge.  In the above example that might be $5,200 (cost to them) minus $3,000 (that we might charge), meaning there is a clear short term financial benefit of over $2,000 to the client….

 

Weigh what the professional charge is for doing the work against what it would cost the consumer to actually do it themselves.  There will be a significant difference- though theoretically more objectively and with astute judgement – what is the difference?

 

Is there a clear tangible value to the client from using a professional financial adviser then?

 

We all as individual consumers outsource problems all the time to other professionals because we mentally make the time/money calculation, and then add in the “stress or hassles” factors, overlay that with “things I’d rather do with my life” and come to a pretty rapid conclusion that more often than not money is a lot less valuable than time.

 

So consider approaching the matter of the “cost of advice” from that perspective with clients.  They are usually pretty quick to recognise a bargain when they see one…

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You might also be interested in this related article:
It’s not about YOU…It is about the value for THEM

 

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