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Successful Family Meetings agenda: key steps and strategies for financial advisors

You might lose 66% of your business if you don’t start including your clients’ children in your family meetings agenda. According to Investment News, more than half of financial advisors are fired after the children receive their parents’ inheritance. 

However, can you blame them? Financial relationships are primarily built on trust. According to the Illinois CPA Society, 95% of investors say their children have never met their advisors. If you aren’t taking the time to meet with them, it’ll be hard to build that bridge of trust. 

You don’t need to get bogged down in the details of hours of extra work to start targeting a new demographic. Instead, you just need to have the strategies to follow in successful family meetings agenda once or twice a year. 

You can’t treat these future clients the same way you’ve been treating their parents. You’ll have to get to know them first and adapt to their preferences. Read on to gain insights into hosting a successful family meeting with your client’s adult children.

Successful Family Meetings Agenda: What role should financial advisors play?

We’re on the precipice of the largest wealth transfer in history. Advisors that have solely focused on their clients without including crucial family conversations may be left behind by their children. They may know someone that has already built rapport. Or maybe someone they find on Google one afternoon after deciding they should probably ask someone what kind of account they should keep their inheritance in. 

Family meetings agenda is built around about more than the impending wealth transfer. It’s an opportunity for parents to come together to show their children the choices they make with their money. Also, why they do what they do, and what legacy they hope their children will carry on. Here’s what you can do to ensure that your client’s adult children will be interested in a second meeting.

Stick to the family meetings agenda.

When families come together, it can often be chaotic – not necessarily in a bad way. Excitement can take over, arguments can ensue, and things can get off topic quickly. To set the tone and purpose of the meeting, you should draft an agenda and send it to the client five days in advance. That way, if they have any feedback or more topics they’d like covered, you can revise it accordingly. 

If you have any pre-meeting tasks that your client or their children will need to complete, ensure you give them the family meeting agenda with ample time to get it done. 

Manage the family meeting.

A financial advisor’s role in the family meetings agenda is to act as the facilitator along the way. You may need to adapt your style to suit both your current clients and their adult children. Face-to-face meetings and phone calls may be preferred by older clients. And online video chat may be preferred by younger generations such as millennials and Gen Z. Consider the needs of your parents or grandparents if they can’t join you in person for a meeting. But make yourself available through email in case they have questions.

With any virtual meetings, you’ll want to ensure that you’ve provided instructions ahead of time for turning on the camera. Also to use the chat function, mute and unmute the microphone. Finally, remember the importance of speaking one at a time. 

Before going into particular financial planning themes or tactics, consider structuring talks around shared values. For example, a family may discover that they all value education and charity giving. Establishing common ground in this scenario might help you devise mechanisms to achieve those goal. For example, trusts that set aside money for grandkids’ college tuition. Or donor-advised funds that allow the family to donate to organizations that are important to them.

Any conversation about money in the family may be a difficult one, evoking powerful emotions. Advisors can act as a neutral third party. They can ensure that everyone has a chance to speak and preventing heated debates.

Practice skillful listening during the family meeting.

Something has gone horribly wrong if you’re doing most of the talking in the meeting. Instead, you should be asking open-ended questions. And helping your clients articulate their goals. That way, you can give them the appropriate resources to create the best plan for the family’s wealth

Consider your client’s adult children as unique people with their own views on life and money management when interacting with them.

When chatting with the adult children of your clients, try to get a sense of their priorities. And ask them what is important to them, as well as what keeps them up at night. Although kids may look like their parents, many have their own ideas. For example, about what’s worth working towards in life and how they want to spend their money.

It’s critical to consider this group as the different, self-contained individuals that they are while nurturing them. Treating them as someone you’re here to help. And not just as your clients’ children. That will demonstrate respect and that you appreciate their input. While employing this attitude in all encounters with them is not guaranteed to get them as clients, it is a step in the right direction.

Post-meeting follow-ups

A lot can occur in a family meeting and what happens after is critical to get the full value from the conversation. A great thing to do is to recap the meeting to ensure everyone is on the same page and knows what to expect in the year to come. You can use this opportunity to position yourself as a resource.

For example, if one of your clients’ children is a college grad, you can reach out about helping them set up a retirement savings account. Or, maybe you’ve noticed that your clients think crypto isn’t worth discussing but their children are interested. Then, you can send them a message to let them know you’re happy to answer questions and discuss it with them over a phone call. 

Right now, more than half of advisors are meeting with their clients’ children less than once a year. 18% of them say they don’t meet with them at all. Don’t let all the good work you’ve done for your clients go to waste during the wealth transfer process. 

Have you been overwhelmed with juggling both the service provider role and financial educator for your clients on top of marketing and administration? At Leading Advisor, we help you increase your earnings without increasing your workload. Contact us to learn more.