The financial wisdom and guidance you pass to clients is going to look different for different stages of life. In the typical financial industry, we see that the bulk of this guidance is about assets, products, and returns. Within the “whole-life friendly” community, there’s more emphasis on legacy, protection, and certainty. We’d like to introduce an additional component to the work you may do with your clients. That is, encouraging your clients to expand their notion of legacy.
You may find that just speaking with your clients helps them consider their legacy beyond Net Worth. And we want to encourage you to take this even a step or two further. You’re in the unique position to help your clients remain in service, build a life they love, and create wealth that transcends money.
So as you develop your practice, and work with clients over their lifetimes, here are three “visions” you can instill in clients who are cultivating their legacy.
3 Non-Financial Assets Clients Can Pass Down
1. Values and Vision
Whether or not your clients have clearly identified them, they come to you with a unique set of values…and a vision. Your role as their advisor is to honor those values and weave them into the client’s financial strategy.
What’s more, if your client is seeking a generational strategy, you can encourage them to solidify and record those values and visions into a family mission statement.
A family mission statement helps families document what matters to them as a collective, and what they wish to honor for generations to come. Adding this to your client’s financial strategy can create cohesion, rules of “engagement” with family policies, and a shared sense of purpose.
A family mission statement could include:
- Family mottos or sayings
- Characteristics that the family values, such as integrity or proactive gratitude
- Words to omit from the family vocabulary, like the phrase, “I can’t.”
The beauty of this family mission statement is that each family will be unique. And the qualities that the family identifies together can help strengthen their bond. Not to mention, this statement can aid in estate planning and the establishment of trusts.
2. Family Stories
If you think about it closely, your family likely has a story that you see as a “defining tale.” Most families do have these stories, which get passed down from generation to generation. These stories are a way for parents and grandparents to share triumphs, lessons, and cautions with the next generations. And often, these are the qualities that find their way into family mission statements. As such, they deserve to hold a place in the non-financial legacies we leave behind.
Family stories can be anything. For some, these stories may describe how your client or someone they know persevered through their first job. It could be a story about how the grandparents met. The defining story may even be a cautionary tale about overexerting oneself. The key to a useful story is ultimately about the lesson that is found within the tale.
The stories you tell to your children–stories your clients undoubtedly have parallels of–shape the people your family members become. So, don’t hesitate to document your own family lore, and if your client shares something with you that strikes you as significant, encourage them to do the same.
3. An “Instruction Manual”
The main purpose of life insurance is to protect future income and support family members during a difficult time. The death benefit can also act as an inheritance. And leaving a sizeable inheritance is often, at some point, an objective of clients. However in practice, heirs are frequently ill-prepared to handle such large sums of money.
When you are identifying a financial strategy for your client, and helping them set up a family banking system, you’ll also want to ensure that they’re preparing their loved ones.
In the early years, this may look like:
- Identifying assets, and the tools and skills necessary to manage them.
- Working with an estate planning attorney to have a succession strategy.
- Teaching your clients how to talk about money with their children, in age appropriate ways.
These steps represent just a few ways your client can stay on top of preparations, to ensure that their family knows how to steward the family legacy. Too often, money is viewed as taboo, and parents don’t spend enough time discussing money honestly with their children.
As an advisor, your role may be to invite your clients to bring their children for discussions about college financing, buying a car, and opportunity costs. As the children age, these discussions can develop into managing investment properties, analyzing real estate deals, and the importance of life insurance.
Just remember that you’ll have decades to work with your clients and their families–and there is benefit to your clients passing on that education.
Other ways your clients might get their families involved is through weekly meetings, annual retreats, or welcoming them into any financial discussions that impact them personally.
Help Clients Thrive
Your clients will bring much more to the table than money. And as you help them build their legacy, it’s important to remind them of the value inherent in their human capital. That is to say: there is so much more to a person’s legacy than their money.
If you or your client is interested in generational legacy planning, be sure to check out the latest book published by the Prosperity Economics Movement: Perpetual Wealth by Kim Butler and Kate Phillips.
This book expands upon and adds to the ideas in this article so that your clients can create a legacy beyond wealth for generations to come. To join a community of like-minded advisors, and receive ongoing training and support, become a Prosperity Economics Advisor today.