founding principal of
Financial Group, LLC
What is your advisor
philosophy and how
does it shape your
practice? Go to
join the discussion.
If I were asked to offer one piece of advice to a new advisor, it would be this: Get to work on your philosophy. Not only will it
shape the advice you give, but it will also shape
your practice, firm, personal financial strategy
and legacy. Advisor philosophy is such a big
deal, but it doesn’t get treated with the care it
deserves. Let's change that.
Consider this: A seasoned advisor in my
community is looking to sell his practice
in order to retire. To better understand the
possible opportunity for me to acquire the
practice, we met a number of times, shared
emails and had many phone discussions. The
majority of these discussions were focused on
the what and why of his decision to sell.
While these aspects are incredibly important, it wasn’t until much later that we delved
into the details of how he actually does business. After hours of previous discussions, it
took about 30 minutes for the whole idea to
unravel as we discussed the details of how
they build client plans and manage assets.
It turns out their philosophy was almost
the opposite of mine. Therefore, the idea of
transitioning hundreds of his clients, who
were accustomed to his ways of doing things,
to my way overwhelmed me and caused me
to completely rethink the opportunity. Had
we shared our philosophies sooner, we could
have saved ourselves time and heartache.
I share this story because this advisor may
have a very difficult road ahead, as he
attempts to sell a practice that could have
benefitted most from advisors within the
practice succeeding him, using his philosophy. In order to do that, he would have had
to train advisors in his philosophy for years
to ensure a smooth transition. Instead, he
may be expecting a big payoff that may never
come, as the market with his philosophy
If you’re still wrestling with understanding
what I mean by philosophy, consider these
fundamental questions for yourself:
What do you believe the role of the advisor
is in the life of a client?
What is the profile of the client the practice
seeks to serve and actually does serve?
What strategies do you employ to solve your
typical client’s greatest concerns?
Which strategies do you purposely avoid
using in your practice that may be widely
used by other advisors?
What role do you, as the advisor, play in your
process and within your team?
Are you an advocate of active investment
management or passive?
Do you believe life insurance should be used
only as a risk management tool, or as an
Do you promote annuities to clients? If so,
do you position them as income-producing
assets, as safe investments or both?
What marketing principles do you believe in;
are you a direct response marketer or a "get
your name out there" marketer?
Are you choosing to build a practice to
support your lifestyle or are you building a
practice to sell outright at a later date?
As you can see, the list of questions to
ponder is vast when defining your philosophy.
Skipping any of these will cause a lot of indeci-
sion and confusion as you choose which forks
in the road you’ll take in your advisor journey.
I’ll suggest one very helpful exercise when
doing your pondering: Write it down. Create a
written philosophy for yourself that can later
be used to build your marketing message and
training materials. Your practice will take a
shape that is much more intentional.
Ultimately, your philosophy is your voice
and your calling. It’s your process and your
product. When you take the time to get it clear
and share it with others, your philosophy has
no choice but to positively affect those who
most need to hear it, and there’s no shortage
of people who could benefit from your vision
and your service to others. So ask yourself,
“What’s my philosophy?” RA
Advisor philosophy trumps everything else