Been There…

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Someone who is trying to attract new clients will often highlight their expertise with a certain group with common attributes.  I have a lot of clients that are women on their own so I will often tell someone who has lost her spouse or who is transitioning from a relationship that I have helped many people in their circumstances.

But I realized that my connection to a client becomes even more powerful when I’ve had the experience myself.  I thought about all the life events I’ve helped my clients go through over the years and realized that I’ve been through many of them myself.  Not sure whether I should call that maturity or aging, but either way, I’m in a stronger position to empathize and share my expertise, having the knowledge of my profession, but also the insight of my personal experiences.

Here are some of my life events, so far.  As you read through the list, think about your own experiences, and notice the emotion that comes with it.  This is key!

  • Marriage
  • Saving for and buying a first home
  • Birth of a child
  • Saving for child’s education
  • Saving for retirement
  • Getting child through undergrad; tuition, renting condo, furnishing etc.
  • Helping child through professional school
  • Buying condo for child to live in at school
  • Home renovations
  • Moving to a larger home
  • Loss of job/severance/career shift
  • Being “restructured” and quickly re-establishing
  • Becoming self-employed!
  • Changes to spouse’s career
  • Spouse’s work changes from part time/full time
  • Sick family member
  • Death of a sibling
  • Acting as sibling’s executor
  • Clearing out sibling’s home
  • Aging parents
  • Parent’s long stay in hospital; transitioned to retirement home; parent bounces back and goes home
  • Death of a parent
  • Assisting surviving parent
  • Sourcing more care for parent getting on in years
  • Death of an in law
  • Aging of an in law
  • In law downsizing home

And who knows what life will bring next?  These are only the big things that had a significant link to my or my family’s finances.  As I wrote this list, some things made me smile; some things brought tears to my eyes.  Either way, I am filled with gratitude. And overall, I feel very blessed.

Cartoon of a financial advisor speaking to a client, relating to his money problems

I share this because, whether or not I’ve been through what a client is currently going through, I want them to appreciate that I approach their life events with more than just numbers, plans, and strategies.  I am privileged to walk through life with my clients.  I have been a guest at clients’ weddings.  I have also held clients’ hands on their deathbed.  I’ve been with them at their workplace as they signed off on retirement and attended their retirement parties.  There are a lot of emotions attached to these events and they take place within the framework of our personal values.  I spend a lot of time building relationships with clients so that I understand those values and can offer advice and guidance that makes financial sense, but also makes them feel true to themselves and their end goals.

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