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Financial Planning

How to help your clients set smart and realistic financial resolutions

The new year often means turning over a new leaf, as well as reviewing one’s personal finances. In 2020, be prepared to help clients reach their best financial potential with these seven smart — and realistic — resolutions. 

Get back to basics with a budget check-in

To truly master their spending, your clients have to know where their money comes from and where it’s going. While most people understand the basic idea of budgeting, getting help setting up or improving a budget can be a game changer for your clients’ finances.

Encourage clients to build their emergency savings

According to data from the Federal Reserve, about 40% of Americans can’t afford to pay for a $400 emergency from savings. If your clients fall short on emergency savings, help them build an automated savings strategy to save the minimum three to six months of expenses experts recommend. If self-employed, encourage your client to double that to at least six months of savings. 

Help keep them on track for retirement

One of the first places you look when reviewing your clients’ finances may be their retirement account balances. While you understand how vital retirement savings and investments are for a comfortable future, millions of people are far behind where they should be in saving for retirement. Help your clients understand how important saving for retirement is for their future.

Review life insurance coverage and needs

Your clients shouldn’t leave their families’ financial stability to chance. In the event of an unexpected loss of life where their income depletes, they should have adequate insurance. Make sure they don’t count on group life insurance from work alone; they should have their own policy that covers their dependents’ financial needs.

Update wills or trusts for current preferences

In addition to looking at life insurance, encourage clients to review their estate plans. In many cases, a will or trust is good for decades without change. But if there are new children, new assets or any major life change, it’s a smart idea to make sure your clients are happy with what’s in place. While few people like to talk about death, gently remind your clients that putting an estate plan in place can see that their wishes come true in a worst-case scenario.

Optimize bank and credit card accounts

Help your clients review their checking and savings accounts, taking note of fees and interest rates. Discuss the credit cards your clients use and what financial protections, benefits and rewards they offer. Explain bank and credit card options that may help your clients reduce or avoid fees and enjoy better perks.

Help clients go digital with budgeting and finance apps

Personal finance isn’t all spreadsheets and calculators. Just as you use tools to view your clients’ portfolios and financial information, your clients can use tools to keep their finances on track, as well. Suggest that your clients try out your favorite personal finance and budgeting apps that do an effective job of aggregating and summarizing cash flow and investment assets.

Put your clients first to build trust and a thriving business

A strong financial professional relationship is built on trust. Clear communication and a concerted effort to improve your clients’ finances show that you put their needs first. This serves as a solid foundation for a relationship that can last decades.



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