Sunday, October 11, 2009

Jill Hollander, Financial Connections Group

Hello, my name is Jill Hollander. I am founder of Financial Connections Group in the San Francisco Bay Area. I've been a fee-only financial planner and investment manager since 1993.

Marie has asked the question "what is the number one thing that financial planners should be mindful of as we move into 2010, and beyond?”

I think the number one characteristic we must have is adaptability. The dictionary says To Adapt implies a modification according to changing circumstances. A scientific definition is “the behavior that enables an organism to function effectively.”

Haven’t we all had to decide how to adapt? And function effectively for our clients based on recent dramatic events?

We decided to view last year as an opportunity.

One of the ways my firm adapted to the events of last year was to introduce periodic conference calls. Initially, we did not have the means to create this event so our technology grew in the process.

Our clients appreciated the commentary provided. We are able to “touch” them in an efficient manner, always encouraging them to come and see us. It is difficult to gauge how much is too much communication so it loses its effectiveness. It’s a little like Goldilocks trying to find the porridge that is “just right.”

With so many people having the foundation of their financial future shaken, we took the opportunity to modify and fine tune our hourly financial planning practice. We joined the Garrett Planning Network and blended our model and theirs. We hired a planner who just passed the CFP exam to help us with this offering. While it temporarily reduces our profit, we feel it is a down payment on a future revenue stream while helping people during this difficult period.

Going forward, I think our clients need us to be the voice of reason—to separate fact from fiction, knowledge from noise.

I think the trick to moving into 2010 and beyond is to challenge your own philosophy. And, if we continue to believe it is appropriate going forward, stick to it. However it is also necessary to stay flexible as the world around us does change and adapt to those changes that seem applicable to your clients. We have to be able to separate the latest fad or trend in favor of adaptability that promotes our clients’ well-being.

It’s never dull being a contrarian!

If you'd like to dialogue further, my website is www.financialconnections.com

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