The key to successful wealth management relationships

March 16, 2019

I founded SWM as a woman-owned business in order to improve my clients’ lives in a setting that reflects their values and supports their unique money stories.

This means that SWM is all about successful wealth management relationships. As an independent, boutique wealth management firm focused on helping women and minorities transition through career change, divorce, inheritance, and business succession, our job is to understand what’s happening in our clients lives so that we can tailor our support and guidance to their specific needs.

So, while setting up SWM, I took time to reflect on what works best when it comes to understanding people’s money stories. What I found is that it all boils down to one word: communication.

If you don’t have strong communication between a financial advisor and client, the money story is not clear and the financial plan will be ineffective. We take this fact especially seriously at SWM because we believe in inspiring and educating our clients so that they feel empowered to take charge of their finances. Clarity and trust are paramount in how we do business, and they require wide open channels of communication.

Communication is the cornerstone of all successful wealth management relationships.

Talking About Money is Not Easy

While it may seem obvious that communication is the foundation of all successful relationships, successful communication around money can be particularly fraught. Why? Money is emotional.

Conversations around money are difficult because they bring up strong feelings and expose our vulnerabilities. It’s hard to convey our thoughts around our strengths, weaknesses, successes, and failures when these assessments are tied money. As an added challenge, finances are also wrapped up in our personal values and beliefs. To talk openly about finances means exposing these things, and it can feel very uncomfortable.

To communicate effectively around money, we need to let go of our judgements and stereotypes. That’s why these tough conversations are made much easier when they are shared with an un-biased, non-judgmental financial advisor. Sharing your money stories with someone with similar life experiences can reduce stress and lead to many more positive money conversations.

Your Money Background Matters

We all have experiences, memories, hopes, and dreams for the future. We are all inspired by our grandparents’ and our parents’ attitudes toward money. We are further shaped by our economic background and the neighborhoods where we grew up. We all also have questions around money that stem from our backgrounds.

  • Did your parents include you in financial conversations?
  • Were your household finances a cause of stress?
  • Did your family have a healthy relationship with money?

When thinking about these conversations around money that you’ve had in the past, you should pause to reflect on the money values that shaped you and are driving your money conversations today.

We need to have truthful conversations about the financial ideas that shape our lives.

From my experience working with many different clients, women and minorities in particular, beliefs and emotions are important things to think about when it comes to your communicating about money.

How do your beliefs and emotions determine the tradeoffs you make between saving and debt?
How do they influence whether planning or procrastination characterize your approach to addressing financial goals?

The life events that shape these emotional conversations are meant to preserve your values while building a financial plan that is realistic and aligns with your lifestyle and vision for your financial goals.

Solving Problems Together

When talking with your advisor about financial hurdles, it’s best to be as specific as possible and focus on one hurdle or goal at a time. Start the discussion by breaking down your hurdles into wants, needs, and wishes. This is a great way for your advisor to hear what is most important to you.

`Then, review the list annually and determine if the solutions are still doable and practical. It is important to bring up any roadblocks or challenges that may require you to course correct your plan to stay on track. By discussing your hurdles annually, you create actionable goals that you can plan for and implement, moving you closer to a successful financial plan.

Take the time now to schedule a meeting with a financial advisor. Don’t wait until a crisis pops up!

Starting a conversation from a calm financial standing is usually easier than when a sudden life event requires you to have a hard conversation around money. Money conversations can be hard and emotional. But, by talking honestly with a relatable advisor, you can approach any financial goal stronger and more prepared.

Financial Communication the SWM Way

When you’re ready to kick-start your financial life with SWM, we’ll meet in the beautiful, relaxed setting of the Coterie Worklounge in the heart of downtown Seattle. Let’s pull up a chair, pour a cup of coffee or tea, and have a conversation about your financial dreams, values, and goals.

Share your money story. Connect today

Singer Wealth Management