Are clients throwing you a curveball?

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Michelle Tate-Lovery, director and principal financial adviser at Unified Financial Services, is a bit of a whizz when it comes to boosting clients' savings. She took part in financial planning week last week by posting a few tips for savers.

However, Tate-Lovery says that it can sometimes be difficult for advisers to help people reach their savings potential, when clients aren’t completely honest – intentionally or not.

“Your advice could be skewed because maybe the client, unbeknownst to them, is misguiding you as well, around what their true savings potential is,” she says.

“I don’t think financial planners, my experience of them, really get too much into talking about this sort of stuff. They just assume when a client comes to see them, when they outline their expenses, look at their income and then there’s a surplus, that’s the amount that they have to plan with but quite often we test it and work out that that surplus is not really the surplus that they thought.”

Tate-Lovery says that clients will often underestimate their expenses, and may not put down their correct income because they can get confused between gross and net.

“Find out where the client is sourcing info – such as their income – gross or net, from payslip or tax return, with or without salary packaging, inclusive of bonuses or not.”

It is also vital for planners to create desire around clients wanting to save. She recommends avoiding the word “budget” because it gives the idea that something has to be cut out, without looking at the rewards.

“We say just have an awareness exercise cashflow plan. Look at optimising your situation, have a goal and work backwards from that goal and then it’s not so hard…it’s a bit of a balancing act, have a bit of fun with it and then people will do more of it.”

She says that chunking savings goals into smaller goals along the way, using rewards as incentives, is vital as well.

Do you have other strategies to help clients save? Share your tips below.

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