To Advise Couples, Goals-Based Isn't Enough
Source: FA-IQ @ Schwab Impact, Oct. 26, 2016
BRUCE LOVE, MANAGING EDITOR, FINANCIAL ADVISOR IQ: Hi, this is Bruce Love with Financial Advisor IQ. And I'm here with Amy Florian, founder and CEO of Corgenius. So much of the industry is actually moving towards goals-based investing. You're talking about something more. How does it change the way that you advise women?
AMY FLORIAN, CEO, CORGENIUS: I believe that, more than goals-based, it needs to be relationship based.
BRUCE LOVE: How do you do that practically in a firm?
AMY FLORIAN: You have a very good contact management system and very good administrative staff who get things on the calender. Well, let me give you an example/illustration. A woman's husband dies. You get all those dates-- all those important dates on the calendar. You get on his birthday, her birthday, the anniversary of the death, their wedding anniversary, some of the monthly anniversaries.
And then you reach out on those days. And it can be as simple as just giving a phone call, saying, "I know what today is. It's Jim's birthday. And I couldn't help but be thinking about you. So what do you have planned for today? Are you going to have family come over? Are you going to go to the cemetery? Are you just cocooning for the day? What is it like for you? What is today like?"
Or, if you don't feel comfortable making a phone call or you can't reach her or whatever, send a card. "I can't take away the pain of a day like today, but I hope you can at least enjoy a cup of your favorite coffee with the enclosed gift card." Or, "I bet, on Jim's birthday, you find that people talk about anybody and everybody except Jim. They don't know what to say, so they don't say anything. So I hope you can take the enclosed gift card for the coffee shop, go grab a friend, have coffees, and tell stories about Jim all morning. Jim is worth remembering, and we're remembering with you."
Those little relationship touches on the days when it really, really matters-- those are priceless. You treat a woman client that way, she will be loyal for life. And once women are loyal, they talk to each other. I facilitate support groups. I hear it. They talk to each other.
So you do a really good job for a woman. You're doing the right thing for your client. You're also going to get referrals without even having to ask because she's going to tell everybody how unusual you are, how comprehensive you are, how you care about her and not just her money.
BRUCE LOVE: And do you think this is easier depending on the gender of the financial advisor or the personality type of the advisor? Or is this something that all advisors can put their mind to?
AMY FLORIAN: Now, that's an interesting question because, while there are physiological differences in men and women, we can't generalize. Men are taller than women, right? Well, yeah, in general men are taller than women. But that does not mean that no women tower over men because they do or that no men are shorter than any woman in their life because they are.
You can't generalize that much on any personality characteristic. We're all on a bell curve somewhere. So many men are actually good at this stuff and some women are not. You can learn. No matter where you are, no matter how good you are at it or not, some of it is simply awareness-- recognizing that these things need to be addressed, learning what questions to ask, learning how to relate to people. That is a learnable skill.
For those who just, you know, are way on the other end of the spectrum-- that is not what they want to do, they're very uncomfortable with it, every time they try it's awkward and that comes across-- then you team up with somebody who is good at it. Even if you're not, find somebody who is. And have a team approach so that both aspects are always there.
In fact, it's not a bad idea to have a team approach, to rearrange your firm going forward to have a team approach so that-- whether you've got a man or a woman, whether you've got someone who is focused on facts and statistics and returns, or you've got someone who's focused on emotions and goals and family-- no matter who you've got in front of you, you've got a team. And they can relate to the one that matches them best.
BRUCE LOVE: Amy, thanks so much for spending the time.
AMY FLORIAN: You are welcome.