財務顧問在現在從事理財規劃這個工作面臨很多挑戰, 包括社會大眾對此不了解, 沒有相關的法規, 各種不同的認證系統造成大眾混淆等等, 但是最大的挑戰還是來自於CFP持證人信心的缺乏, 由於對前景沒有把握, 以致於只有少數人願意冒險從事財務顧問的工作, 或是開設這樣的財務顧問公司。 不過這個行業即使在已開發國家:英國/美國, 他們還是會碰到一些困難, 因為你要處理的人的情緒/欲望/錢財等, 如果CFP持證人對這行業有興趣, 他們應該更打開心胸, 接納各個領域的人才, 嘗試用一些創新的方式來開拓財務規劃的市場。
在一些大眾媒體上很常碰到所謂的名嘴在談論理財, 但是多數人目的是在推銷商品, 受過正規訓練的CFP持證人應該多利用各種機會去教導大眾, 什麼是真正的財務規劃, 一個客觀公正的財務規劃可以為他們帶來什麼好處?
一場演講將為你帶來一些潛在客戶, 但是演講要成功必須題材要生活化大眾才會有興趣聽, 財務規劃的理念可以融入這些主題中, 例如我上次為HP員工講勞保退休金, 那時勞保會不會倒是一個熱門話題, 我就一開始先講這樣的議題, 但是最後導入退休規劃要如何做, 財務規劃可以完整的幫助做退休規劃等。
現在智慧型手機非常普遍, 你應該開始思考如何利用這個工具, 例如說要讓大眾乖乖花2小時可能有困難, 你可以把課程切割成一個個10分鐘,20分鐘的短講, 讓他們可以在手機上收看, 甚至於付費聽課。
一般的大眾對財務規劃不是很了解, 對你可能信任度也不夠, 是否你可以設計一個簡易方案, 以較低廉的價格讓他們先接觸什麼是財務規劃後, 有進一步意願再付較高費用做完整的財務規劃, 這樣的模式包括電子式報告書及2小時的電話諮詢, 而且是可以讓大眾用智慧型手機就可以線上付費購買這樣的服務。
EAP員工協助方案是企業提供給員工的福利方式之一, 它從心理諮商/法律服務/理財諮詢/健康諮詢, 各方面實際去協助員工, 你可以利用此方式在企業裡面做員工的理財教育及員工的理財諮詢以開發潛在客戶。
Practice Challenges Facing Financial Planners
The financial planning profession faces a lot of challenges including a general lack of awareness from the public, competing designations that confuse the public, lack of regulation, and people claiming to be “financial planners” when they are not qualified.
The biggest challenge in my opinion for CFP professionals is the uncertainty about the future of financial planning. Some people in the industry don’t want to face the challenge of becoming a financial planner. It is rare to find a CFP professional who is willing to take the risk, roll up their sleeves, and setup a financial planning firm.
I don’t think being a financial planner will ever be easy, because the career deals with human emotions, desires, and money. Even developed financial planning markets such as the US or the UK struggle to gain market share. To gain market share, we must be creative and willing to try many different ideas. I think CFP professionals should be open-minded and work with a variety of people on their teams and in their firms. It is more advantageous to have people who compliment your work style by adding new perspectives, than to work with people who are all just like you.
Educating the Public about Financial Planning
Educating the public is the foundation of developing the financial planning market. We have to make the public aware that there is a better alternative to purchasing financial products from salespeople. The public receives financial information from blogs, newspapers, magazines and television every day. Unfortunately, most of the information is regarding investments in the stock market. People in the media will call themselves financial planners but they aren’t CFP professionals and don’t have the credibility to speak to the profession. In fact, most of these people are product providers trying to sell something. The biggest problem with this is that the public is mislead to believe that financial planning is about selling products; which just isn’t true. It is our job to education the public about what financial planning really is.
Giving Presentations about Financial Planning
A good speech will turn a high percentage of the audience into prospective financial planning clients. Grabbing the audience’s attention is very important. The best way to do this is to relate to peoples’ daily lives and speak about things they are interested in. Lastly, conclude with the concept of financial planning.
Last year, we had news that caught the attention of the public; the Labor Pension System of Labor Insurance was in financial trouble. They announced that they would not be able to pay out the annuity to retired laborers. At that moment, everyone was concerned that Labor Insurance would go bankrupt.
When invited to talk about retirement planning at Hewlett-Packard last December, I opened by discussing the Labor Pension System because they were all interested to hear about it. I still closed with the philosophy of financial planning. As a result of this presentation, I was able to teach more than 80 people about the benefits of financial planning. This is the first step of warming people up to the idea of a paid advisory service.
It is really important to highlight an event that is affecting their every day – this will catch their attention. This approach is much more exciting to listen to than an educational course. It also helps if you can add humor or metaphors to tell the story of financial planning.
Using Technology to Get Clients
People may not be willing to attend a 1-2 hour class but odds are better that they will watch a 10-20 minute video on their smart phone. Technology allows us to have access to more people. How about putting a few free beginning courses on your website to attract interested people and charge for the more advanced courses? The technology to accomplish this is mature at this point and you can keep your costs low. The beginning videos could focus on topics like “How to keep a spending record on your smart phone” or “How to create a monthly/yearly analysis report of your spending.”
These days, people value quick and efficient solutions to their problems. Make your courses short, easy to understand, and simple to purchase and watch. In Asia, teachers are paid high respect, and concurrently, the smart phone is gaining more and more popularity. Financial planners trying to keep up with the evolving generations would be smart to create short 20-30 minute speeches that are available on smart phones, than 2-3 hours lessons in a classroom.
Easing New Clients into Financial Planning
Do you have difficulty getting clients? It can be hard to convince prospective clients to pay high advisory fees. If you put yourself in their shoes, this is the first time they are learning about financial planning and after 1-2 hours of meeting with them, they are expected to trust you right away with their most intimate life details. One way to slowly build trust would be with experiential marketing on your website. Experiential marketing integrates elements of emotions, logic, and general thought processes to connect with consumers. Financial planning is a new concept and intimidates consumers who have never heard of it, so why not ease them into it?
Due to the slow moving economy, the public has become more conscious of their spending. How much should a financial planner charge for a case? I don’t think planners should lower their prices to attract new clients. Instead, what about offering a smaller price planning package that helps clients understand financial planning better? The package could include a 2 hour consultation by phone and a planning report via email. If they like this small package, they might be willing to pay for a comprehensive financial plan later on. I recommend charging about US$155 for something like this.
Using EAP to Develop a Wider Client Base
Another way to meet more clients is an Employee Assistant Program (EAP). An EAP is a benefit that companies, usually with 500 employees or more, offer to their employees. Employees are able to speak on the phone or face to face with consultants in varying areas such as mental health, law, financial planning, etc. I recently started working as a financial planning consultant for an EAP and I now have an opportunity to meet new financial planning clients. The employer pays for the first consultation, but if the employee decides to continue the financial planning process, then they will pay the fees.