You decided that this is the year to make changes to live your dreams. Now what? Most of us have been there. Retainer-based planning is the way to make it happen.

You meant well, you wanted to help people with their finances and maybe you worked for a “big firm” before you decided to go out on your own. But it’s lonely on your own. You have to think about and decide about EVERYTHING. From the basic stuff of logo’s and company name all the way to deciding if you lease or purchase your next piece of office equipment.

The truth is, you spend A LOT of time thinking and managing things that your clients don’t care about. You should be focusing on the outcomes that are important to the CLIENT. But no one said life was fair.

Independent financial advisors are up against it. Let me count the ways…

Ways independent financial advisors have it rough:

We want to be different; compliance wants to keep us in the box, under control. This limits our solutions, they like us to stick with “traditional planning” and normal investments and strategies. I.E. they want us to get in line and be like “everyone else.” Kinda hard to differentiate when we all look the same.

The more money a prospect has, the more likely they can’t “take a chance” on an independent firm or team. They have too much to lose. So they go with the “Insert local, old trust company here”. They know they probably should have more than traditional stocks/bonds (especially with the length of this stock market expansion). But they need to be “conservative” and usually pick the older firm with name recognition. Usually not you.

But there is hope!

So how do I create a profitable business that adds real value to my clients and if I’m being brutally honest, I don’t want to work too hard?

Common sense is not common practice.

Pretend you are a high net-worth prospect. What do you want? I think at a basic level you want advice to help make smart choices about money. You want someone whose answer is not tied to a commissioned product and you want to be able to leverage low-cost platforms but still have an advisor to talk to you. And if you (as the prospect) are also being brutally honest, you want value. You are willing to pay for it, but you want value. Save you time, give you more than the stocks/bonds you’ll get at the brand name trust company or low-cost fund company.

Retainer-based planning checks all of these boxes.

So we have the outcomes we are trying to accomplish. Add value to the client, have a profitable business, and work less.

Advice – A Game Changer

The game-changer is coming. What if there is a simple change in your practice and mindset that could do all three? Add value, make a profit, work less…..

Charge for what you give away now. If you make your practice a financial advising firm, not just wealth management or asset management, or financial planning type of firm.

Honestly, I did it, and I regret not doing it sooner. Although I think if I tried this any earlier I would have been stopped by many factors and this current time is perfect for this change.

Once you decided to be advice-driven you need to create a repeatable process to deliver the right advice to the right client at the right time. You create the process once and use it often. No more “one-offs” which never work. Retainer-based planning is scalable.

When is the last time you made an exception that actually worked out long term?

I had a client who wanted to choose what we put into his portfolio (this would never happen again). He wanted certain funds, and I went along. His portfolio didn’t do as well as the one I would have put him into and he fired us. He should have fired himself.

I digress, bottom line, the time is right for you to change your practice to an advice lead practice and really, truly help your clients.

I did and it has made all the difference…

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