Advisors are learning that many clients are not receptive to direct questions concerning money and personal finances.
WealthManagement.com asked advisors to share the questions they have found to be most successful in turning inquiries into insights and conversations into relationships. Advisors should consider adding the 12 following questions to their onboarding toolkit.
1. What do you value more than money?
- Advisors have found that the most common response is "family." Asking this question allows advisors to follow up and probe deeper to understand what family aspect is important to a client.
2. Can you describe a time you remember your parents talking or fighting about money?
- This question enables advisors to uncover hidden beliefs and actions that often control clients' relationships with money. Once the client's attitude toward money is exposed, the advisor has a clearer picture of how to proceed.
3. What makes you feel at peace?
- When an advisor understands a person's stress relievers and motivations, they can learn their personality traits and values. Additionally, it provides the opportunity to reveal potential concerns or problems.
4. What can you tell me about your parents?
- The primary goal of this question is to learn about the parent's financial and physical well-being. Secondly, the advisor can understand whether or the parents have estate plans set up for themselves and whether the clients (their children) are aware of their potential roles. Most importantly, it invites clients to review documents and ask and resolve important estate questions.
5. You have a totally free Saturday or Sunday. Can you tell me how you spend the day?
- The purpose of this question is to allow clients to consider their priorities in a new light. The question elicits what, if anything, is holding a client back from doing their ideal activity more frequently.
6. What has your attention today?
- This particular open-ended question allows a client to express high-priority financial issues.
7. If we were sitting here five years from now, what would have to occur for you to feel accomplished?
- Answers to this question highlight a client's goals and give an advisor a glimpse at their values.
8. What, if anything, keeps you up at night?
- This question allows clients to get vulnerable and express concerns they have not admitted before.
9. Please paint me a picture of what you want your life to look like after engaging us.
- This approach is an excellent way to reveal important information and surfaces what successful relationships can look like from the client's point of view.
10. What were your very first memories of money?
- This question assists all parties with understanding what is important and helps the advisors translate those values into plans, accounts and strategies.
11. What do you want to ensure does not happen with your wealth or your family (especially after your death)?
- This question allows an advisor to engage the entire family in a plan likely to avoid the client's fears.
12. How do you feel about the level of money you have in savings?
- This question can reveal if saving is a client's priority or is lower on their list of concerns.
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