What Type of Financial Advisor Are You?

3 min read
May 20, 2015

Humans of New York is a photography blog that features portraits of the city's residents. The creator and photographer of the blog, Brandon, always pulls out interesting stories and unique perspectives that he shares with each photo. Only the subject's stories are included with the image -- there's no other commentary with each post.

This week, HONY posted a photo of a sharp-dressed professional, suit and tie, somewhere in his late 20s or 30s. Here's the story that went along with his picture:

I just started in sales, so I'm trying to build a client list. I've probably made 30,000-50,000 cold calls in the past year. I normally say 'Hi there, I'm Mike, and I'm a financial advisor.' And they normally say: 'F**k.'

The Way Things Have Always Been

This is what many in Gen X and Gen Y think of when they hear "financial advisor." They think pushy, cold-calling salespeople. And they don't trust these kinds of financial professionals. Only about 60% of NexGen clients surveyed said they believed their advisor was working in their best interest.

Undoubtedly, Mike is a smart guy and he may even want to work with his peers. But instead he's making tens of thousands of cold calls to sell products to people that don't want to hear what he has to say -- and probably don't even need the products.

Because that's what certain parts of this industry have always looked like.

Sales. Commissions. AUM models requiring half a million to a million dollars in assets from clients. No interest in serving younger clients who need financial planning services, not just investment management. No desire to learn about new technologies and new ways of doing business to better help Gen X and Gen Y clients.

The Way Things Could Be

The financial industry doesn't need to continue down this path. We can provide something different for clients who we want to work with, and who need professional financial advice. Age or assets shouldn't matter -- and it is possible to create a financial planning firm that (profitably!) serves Gen X and Gen Y clients.

Fee-only firms can work with people without conflicts of interest, and they can fulfill a fiduciary duty to clients asking for help. They don't need to push products or focus solely on investment management, throwing in financial planning "for free." Instead, the focus can be on planning, and advisors can serve clients in new and better ways.

We can cater to the needs of younger generations by showing them how to plan for financial independence, not just retirement. We can help them achieve their biggest goals, like starting families and businesses and lives they're excited about living. And we can help clients from around the work with virtual services, which allows both planners and their clients more freedom and flexibility.

What Type of Financial Advisor Are You?

If you don't agree with the way things have always been, and you're ready to explore how things could be, consider talking to fee-only financial planners successfully running their own firms and serving their peers. Ask them more about how you can create your own ideal firm, serving your ideal clients (in a way that's profitable, too!).

There's a community for you if you're ready to join the next generation of financial planning.

What type of financial advisor will you be?

Alan Moore

About the Author

Alan Moore is the CEO and Co-Founder of XY Planning Network—a support ecosystem dedicated to helping fee-for-service advisors start, run, and grow their own financial planning firms and serve the clients they want. His favorite part about his job is dreaming about possibilities for what's next, knowing his stellar team will either tell him no or Get Sh*t Done to make it happen.

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