Financial Planning: The Next Episode


If you're not a hip-hop fan, you may not recognize this's a part of one of the most iconic intros for a hip-hop song ever--Dr. Dre's The Next Episode. I felt it was fitting to start this blog post with it as we talk about the Next Episode of financial planning.

Traditional financial planning has met its match; the days of offering recommendations and a game plan for retirement, college expenses, and the other traditional "American Dream" goals are numbered--I don't know how many days are left, but the end is near.

Ok, that may be a bit extreme.

There will always be a need and demand for retirement and college planning. The advisors helping clients focus on those goals will continue to do great work. But, there are, and will be more, advisors taking financial planning to the next level, or shall we say, the Next Episode.

My hope is to expose more advisors to the Next Episode and encourage them to incorporate it into their practices.

The Next Episode

In this next episode, financial advisors will take their clients on a deeper dive to uncover what they really desire in life. It's been my experience that most individuals don't REALLY know what they want or what they value the most and the thought of being able to help them uncover these values and direct their financial planning towards these more meaningful goals really excites me about my role as a financial advisor. I've always tried to dig deeper with my clients, but I've never explained why. The focus for 2020 and beyond with my clients is to take the plans we've already crafted and make sure they are still in line with what's most important for them and if not, reconfigure the plans so "their values and their money are aligned" (h/t Scott Frank).

While there is not a single name for this new approach to financial planning, there are a couple of frameworks out there. You may have heard of George Kinder and his Life Planning process; my friend Roger Whitney has recently written about and started a podcast for his AGILE Financial Planning process. Both of these approaches provide the framework for building plans and relationships with clients that are unmatched by traditional financial planning. They are not carbon copies of each other, but they have a lot of similarities with the common thread being deeper, more meaningful relationship with the advisor walking alongside her clients through their financial lives.

Rather than write a long blog post about the next episode of financial planning, I've collected some videos and podcasts that do a much better job than I ever could explaining what the process looks like, how the advisor-client relationship needs to change, and the skills we advisors need to sharpen.

Watch And Listen To All Of These

I'm going to start with a couple of the more recent pieces of content.

First, my friend Scott Frank, CFP®, CFA on The Human Advisor Podcast.

Followed by my conversation with Roger Whitney, CFP® on The Advisor Of Tomorrow Podcast.

The Advisor Of Tomorrow Podcast: Roger Whitney and The AGILE Financial Planning Process

If you haven't had enough of Scott Frank--I can listen to Scott talk about Life Planning all day--a short video with our boys about some of the core principles of Life Planning.

Want more?!? Another conversation with Scott on the All About Your Benjamins Podcast.

All About Your Benjamins Podcast: Life Planning With Scott Frank

And finally, my interview with the one and only George Kinder.

All About Your Benjamins Podcast: Life Planning and The Golden Civilization With George Kinder

A Few Key Takeaways

  • Financial advisors need to become better listeners.
  • We are project managers.
  • Align money and values.
  • Give clients space to answer and find their answers.
  • Draw the ten marbles out of their pocket.
  • Don't put our views and values on clients.
  • My favorite: We (the advisors) are not the heroes.

As you can see, I've spent a lot of time with other advisors blazing the path for this next episode. In my eyes, this is the future of financial planning and whenever I talk to a young advisor or someone thinking of making a career change into our profession I always encourage them to go the route of Life/AGILE Planning.

Since you are reading this blog, you have some interest in being an advisor of tomorrow--Life Planning, AGILE planning, or whatever you end up calling it is one of the ways.

Of course I had to include the video for Dr. Dre's The Next Episode--it's just what I do. It's the clean version, but the club scenes are a little risky, so consider yourself warned :)