There’s an interesting debate going on in the profession globally on the extent to which a financial planner should act as a coach. I definitely agree that they should; it’s the planner’s rôle to help the client work out what they want from life, to devise a plan accordingly and to keep them on track to achieve their stated goals. Coaching clients through periods of market volatility is especially important.
There are those who go further still and argue that financial planning should be more akin to life coaching. I must say I don’t concur with that. To quote Susan Bradley in our previous post, “we need to make a very clear distinction and acknowledge that we as financial planners are not therapists. We are not life coaches and we are not counsellors.”
That said, there are ways in which a financial planner can encourage clients to think more positively about their lives. For example, a useful aid to the financial planning process is to practise gratitude. And in case that sounds a bit too airy-fairy, I ought to point out that it’s based on academic evidence.
Several studies have shown that being grateful and expressing gratitude is good for our mental health. Couples who thank each other regularly have happier relationships, and grateful people are also considered warmer and friendlier.
Practising gratitude — for example, making a list or, better still, keeping a journal of things that you’re grateful for — is also hugely beneficial from a financial planning point of view. It helps the client to focus on what they truly value. In many cases it makes them realise that leading a happy life has much less to do with material possessions than they thought it did.
I’ve expanded on these thoughts in my latest post for RockWealth. I hope you find it interesting, and, whether you agree with me or not, I’d love to hear your thoughts:
It pays to be grateful
ROBIN POWELL is the founder and editor of Adviser 2.0. A freelance journalist, he runs Regis Media, a specialist content marketing consultancy for financial advice firms around the world. You can follow him on Twitter and on LinkedIn.