A farewell guest post by our Associate Planner, Samantha Rauch.
Over the past couple of years while working at MY Wealth Planners I have had the pleasure of experiencing what it means to be a financial planner. This is a role that goes beyond numbers and spreadsheets. It is a role that allows you to make a meaningful impact on people’s lives, guiding them towards financial security, and helping them achieve their goals. Throughout my journey as a financial planner, I have gained fulfillment in witnessing positive transformations in our clients, as well as valuable insights that shed light on the challenges, trends, and patterns many clients face. I would like to share with you some of the things that I found most fulfilling as well as some of the different observations I have made while on this journey.
There are many things I have come to love as a financial planner, however, the few that I think are important to recognize include; building trust and relationships with clients, and the continuous learning and growth the profession has to offer.
Every day I have had the opportunity to build trust and meaningful relationships with clients. As a planner, I get the privilege of being a confident and sounding board to all different types of people. Finances can be a very personal topic of conversation, and it is important to ensure that the relationship you are building with your clients is one that allows for open communication, which in turn will help me, the planner, create tailored financial plans that align with the client’s goals and values. Navigating the different ways to build trust is also very important. There are many different types of people, each with their own sense of security. Learning how to build a meaningful relationship with all different types of people can be difficult but is necessary in this profession.
The field of finance is constantly evolving. As a financial planner, it is important that I stay up to date with the latest trends, regulations, and strategies. Clients rely on us to know and understand things about their finances that they may not have time to learn. There are endless opportunities for learning and personal growth. From attending conferences to networking with other professionals, I have learned so much in such a short time frame. As a financial planner, you will never know it all, but you will have ample opportunities to learn as much as you can and grow as much as you can over your career, which in my opinion is invaluable.
While learning and growing in the profession I have come to find many different observations, both unexpected as well as predicted. These include but are not limited to; the power of financial education, the emotional aspect of financial planning, and the importance of goal setting.
Many individuals, by no fault of their own, lack basic financial knowledge and are often overwhelmed by financial decisions. I have witnessed firsthand how empowering it is for clients to gain a deeper understanding of personal finance. Finances play a stressful part in many people’s lives, and to feel that you do not have a good grasp of the knowledge that goes into maintaining your finances can be scary. I have come to observe three different groups of clients; 1) The client that does not understand their finances and is aware of it, 2) The client that thinks they understand their finances but comes to realize they actually don’t, 3) The client that has a good grasp on the knowledge around their finances but wants to know what they don’t know. All these clients still benefit from financial planning, just in different ways, and it is important as the planner to understand the different ways you can help your clients succeed.
Beyond the technicalities of financial literacy, money is deeply intertwined with emotions, which is why it is so important to not only understand the numbers behind it all but also the behaviors. Financial decisions can often be influenced by fear, anxiety, and personal values and beliefs. As a planner, it is crucial to recognize and address these emotions, to create a safe place for clients to express their concerns. By recognizing the emotional side of finance, we can develop more personalized financial plans that align with client’s values and priorities. Many planners use the term money scripts. Money scripts are unconscious money beliefs. Clients tend to fall into one or more of these categories. The different scripts include money status, money worship, money vigilance, and money avoidance. Money avoidance is when someone disregards money and or finances in general. Money worship is the exact opposite. It is when someone is obsessed with obtaining more money, or they feel they never have enough. Money status is where someone associates success with the amount of money they have. Lastly, money vigilance is where someone is very watchful and guarded with their finances. Everyone has their own version of a money script, and there are different ways to address each client’s individual behaviors. If you feel you fall into one or more of these categories, it is not an intrinsically bad thing. As long as you are aware of how the money script impacts you and your behaviors, you can navigate your finances in a positive way.
If clients are not struggling with financial knowledge or behaviors, I have noticed that many individuals struggle to articulate their goals and aspirations. They know they want financial help but are unsure of where to begin or even end. Some people come in and know they want help but have no idea where they want to end up. Others will come in and have all these goals they want to accomplish but are unsure of where to start. I have come to learn the importance and significance of guiding clients in creating realistic and specific goals, while also pushing the client to dream a little. By setting goals I can help keep clients motivated and stay on track of their plan while also inspiring the client to think about the things they want to accomplish in life.
In summary, financial planning involves constant evolution and learning. Not just with regard to the technically based information, but also with the personal and emotional side of planning. After observing how every client is different, I have learned that every step to creating a plan will also need to be different. Learning this has been one of the most rewarding traits of becoming a financial planner, and I have all of our amazing clients to thank for that!