My 88-year-old mother-in-law gets dressed up to go to the bank. At 53, I occasionally stop in the new bank branch near my office and am always greeted by empty offices, a plate of cookies and smiling employees just happy to see a customer. I bank electronically, so my visits are rare. Recently, I asked each of my five Millennial children when they last went into a bank. Brigid (22) went last year to get quarters for laundry. Brendan (25) couldn’t even tell me the last time he wrote a check.
Changing technology and evolving client needs also affect the delivery of financial services. This month, as our firm reviews its 2016 business plan, we will analyze client surveys and requests to determine how we can adjust our staff, communication, technology, and other resources to meet our clients’ rapidly changing needs. We aspire to deliver advice and plans in ways that best serve our clients.
There is a large and growing divide between how generations use technology and access our advice, plans, communications, educational tools and other resources, so it is important that we provide various delivery methods to our clients. This is particularly important in the plans and processes designed to help our clients prepare their heirs to eventually receive wealth. We ask to work with our clients’ beneficiaries, so we can help prepare them for the money they will receive. In addition, the processes we set up to achieve this goal strengthen clients’ connections with their heirs and create opportunities for clients to pass valuable lessons about money and giving back. These plans increase the likelihood that future generations benefit from inherited wealth rather than suffer detriment by not understanding the responsibilities of wealth.
Like many of my clients, for years, I have used “old school” spreadsheets for planning and am very comfortable with them. Most of our clients’ children don’t use them or learn that way. Instead, educational workshops on budgeting and basic investing are now offered using cloud-based programs like MINT, Billguard, or You Need A Budget (YNAB). Our old PowerPoint lessons have been converted to readily available online podcasts and videos.
As you create multi-generational plans and you request advice from your advisor team, make sure plans are delivered with the beneficiaries in mind. Consider how your heirs communicate and learn. Doing so will increase the likelihood that the wealth you will eventually pass will improve the lives of the next generation and the world they live in.
Clients work with us because we don’t sell products – we create customized plans based on each client’s unique goals, and we continuously reevaluate client plans to ensure they are aligned with changing needs.
Tim Scannell, CPA, CFPTM. provides Personal and Business Tax Planning, Estate Planning, Investment Management, and Generational Wealth management to his clients. “We deliver proactive, objective advice, plans and solutions enabling our clients to reach their unique family goals.”