Intergenerational Wealth Management: 8 Steps to Becoming a Family Advisor (Part II)

By James Carney, CEO, ByAllAccounts on Tuesday, June 19th, 2012

This article is the second installment of a two part series for financial advisors on building multi-generational relationships with clients. For steps 1-4, please click here to read Part I.

Step 5: Set your clients up with other like-minded clients.

If Client A has college-aged children and lives in Wealth-ville, set him and his wife up with Client B who has college-aged children and lives in Wealth-ville. They have lots in common and lots to discuss—and may even become friends. This is a great value-add that will enhance your status as a family advisor, and focus your clients on issues such as transferring wealth (and wealth management resources) to their offspring.

Step 6: Move away from performance as the centerpiece of your business model. 

It’s a fact: when you give valuable guidance to the adult children of your clients—and act as an “extra” member of the family—your clients are going to care less about the performance of their portfolios. Sure, performance matters—and you have to measure up. But your clients will care far more about the wisdom of your advice on a wide range of personal/financial matters, as opposed to a straight-up numbers crunch. Besides which, when passing wealth from one generation to the next, aren’t we talking about preserving capital, as opposed to taking on the risks of maximizing performance?

Step 7: Charge the fees you deserve—you’re earning them. 

You’re helping to make your clients’ children happy and successful. Philosophically, you can’t put a price on that. But in the day-to-day world of wealth management, you can charge a fee for it. If your fees are reasonable, your clients will be more than willing to pay them. After all, these are their kids we’re talking about.

Step 8: Use technology as a tool that allows you to do what you do best.

When you offer great advice, you’re doing something that can’t be done online. There’s no automated way to “Wow!” your clients with incisive analysis and commentary. There’s no great software program that can build your reputation for personal integrity.

Rather, technology is a tool that frees you up for the unique, personal contributions you make to your clients’ lives. With ByAllAccounts’ software, for example, you have a data aggregation service that allows you to report on all your clients’ assets, including held-away accounts such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s. That gives you the efficiency, scalability and ultimately the freedom to focus on the big issues that matter most. 

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