Q: How did you get involved in financial Life Planning?
I started in financial services in 1989. HIGHLAND is an independent registered investment adviser firm with 4 employees providing financial planning and investment advisory services to retirees, families, corporate executives and business owners. We also provide Third Party Administration for qualified retirement plans for our business owner clients. We follow the financial planning process with life planning at the core of exploration, discovery and establishment of the plan. I have been practicing life planning for about three years.
Q: What would you like to say about how life planning has made changes in your personal and professional life?
Personally, I came out of the 5-day workshop with a vision to realize a dream for my wife and me. We had wanted to buy a house at the Jersey shore and never really focused on it. From the workshop and working with my partner, I realized that I wanted a lifestyle that included the shore and surfing. One year after the workshop we bought that shore house because we had a plan and a vision. Professionally, I have become a better listener, and consequentially, a better financial planner for my clients. I believe that I now produce better plans for my clients and that I have a deeper, trusting relationship with my clients.
Q: What helped you to decide to enroll for your first Kinder Life Planning workshop?
I read the seven stages book in 2002. When I was registering for the FPA Denver, 2004 conference I remember looking at the form and thinking about signing up for the 2-day course. I was debating it for a year and then I decided to go for it. I didn’t want to go through another year and have any regrets. The 2-day was a great experience and revealed something to me about myself. I made a decision then that I would go on to take the 5-day, but it took me three more years to do it. The 5-day was an incredible experience both as a client and as a planner. I am so glad I did it.
Q: How do you see your Life Planning Practice differ from the other Financial Planning Practices in the area?
Well, it is as different as I am now from the way I had practiced before. I can see it in the clients’ faces at the end of the first meeting. They have never had conversations like that with their financial advisors. The deep sharing and open, caring discovery process, which leads to a vision for the client to follow during adversity becomes a torch for both client and planner to follow. It provides the opportunity to dream and leads to financial freedom.
Q: What are the top 2 actions you have taken to spread the word about your Life Planning practice?
We announced to our clients in our newsletter by sharing my own personal experience from the life planning process. We began practicing it with our clients as they came in for reviews and asked them if they found it beneficial and if so to please share it with others.
Q: Describe a client situation where LP made a profound difference (for the client and/or for you).
I had a client couple who truly made some significant personal growth in three meetings. The couple had come to me with some issues around money and personal confidence making financial decisions. Through the financial life planning process we discovered together the source of these issues and lack of confidence. Once we identified them they led the way with executing their plan.
I could imagine working with them under my previous method of taking control and providing advice. A familiar outcome would have been the likely result, with little progress or a blockage with executing the plan due to unknown reasons.
Q: What were the most significant challenges you have overcome in your practice and how did you overcome them?
Our most significant challenges are maintaining the momentum with clients. It is very easy to allow too much time to pass between the processes and have the planner and client become disconnected to the vision. I have found it is critical to keep no more than 10 to 14 days between each of the first three meetings.
Q: In what ways is your practice more successful since you have added Life Planning?
We have received 14 new clients over the last year from our existing clients without doing any marketing. I believe many if not all of those are a result of our life planning process.
Find out more about Reed at highlandplanning.com.