The ABCs of educating your clients – Part 1

08 May 2022 Myra Knoesen

According to Katelyn Rattray, Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Advicent, financial planning is no longer a static process, and education and continued learning should not be either.

Increase a client’s financial literacy

“Many clients look to their advisers as a source of information and financial life coach, rather than simply a person who manages their money. It is imperative, therefore, that advisers not take this role lightly and proactively provide access to a client’s financial plan as well as relevant, educational information to increase a client’s overall financial literacy,” said Rattray. 

Here are six ways Rattray says advisers can be better at actively educating their clients.

  1. Obtain a deep understanding of each client - It is important in the client on boarding process to ensure that you gain a thorough understanding of a client’s demographic and financial information. In addition to this basic information, advisers should get to know the client’s personality as well as their behaviours, emotions, and financial literacy level. By obtaining a deeper understanding of each client, an adviser can better tailor education information to the client’s life and learn what style of learning may work best for them.
  2. Ask them directly in what ways they learn best - Periodically sent out brief surveys directly asking clients what materials are most beneficial to them and how they like to consume educational content. Some clients may prefer to watch videos at home or listen to a recording in the car, while some may prefer to read a hard copy of the information or want gamification to be involved. While some conclusions can be drawn about learning style from someone’s personality, it is often best to ask these questions directly to ensure accuracy.
  3. Use multimedia - The types of multimedia an adviser uses to educate his or her clients can be based off the educational preference surveys from point number two. Over time, advisers should prioritize creating an arsenal of educational content to send to their clients. Advisers can film a few quick videos of themselves explaining a financial industry topic, curate articles from trusted sources (or even write some themselves), start a financial podcast for their clients, or build some interactive worksheets for clients who may enjoy doing the research themselves. Differently styles of learning often mean leveraging different mediums with which to teach clients.
  4. Host a collaborative learning session - One (often forgotten) way to provide educational information to clients is in-person in either a one-on-one or group setting. While one-on-one educational sessions can often be held in conjunction with client meetings, think about hosting a class at a local “hot spot.” Reserve a private room as a restaurant, bar, business meeting center, or even at the adviser’s office to bring different clients (and even prospective clients) together to learn and discuss personal finance topics. Maybe some clients are nearing retirement or are looking to purchase their first home; hold a class about retirement preparation strategies or the home-buying process.
  5. Connect lessons to their personal life - Many people may struggle to grasp abstract or complex financial concepts or topics when they cannot relate it to their own personal life. This is where a deep understanding of each client from point number one can really come into play. When teaching clients about the financial aspects about things such as buying a home, having children, education planning, retirement planning or investment strategies, relate the lesson to real-life examples. This can help clients get a better sense of the process and its effects on their financial future.
  6. Provide constant access to information - As clients increase their financial literacy, it can be helpful to have consistent, convenient access to their financial plan information in order to keep these topics top of mind. By providing access to a client portal, advisers make it easier for clients to contact them with questions, check their goal progress, and learn more about how what their learning from their adviser can affect their future. 

In part two, we take a look at the communication approach.

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