Financial planners must address purpose as well as tax strategies

This concept is long-overdue!

At the Canadian Institute of Financial Planners’ conference in Niagara Falls Sept. 7, the CEO of Vancouver-based Mind Switch Training, Scott Armstrong, described the need for financial advisors to engage clients in deeper conversations, according to an article appearing at Investment Executive.

In the past, financial planners simply discussed tax strategies and investment options. However, Scott said they should also explore what brings clients happiness or purpose. He made the suggestion to generate more referrals for planners, but the message goes beyond creating more business for the company — it’s essential to the long-term success of clients.

“People are living longer now. That means your clients can have two, three or four decades of vibrant living,” Scott said. “If you’re the one who helps them get on a great retirement plan that lights them up and gets them excited, they’re going to talk about it. That’s where referrals come in.”

To help people identify a purpose after retirement, Scott encouraged planners to discuss clients’ interests from their younger years. He recalled a story about a client approaching 60 who was concerned about how he would spend his time in retirement.

When Scott learned his client managed a music club in high school, he asked if there were any music festivals near his home. That prompted the client to join a committee organizing a local music event.

At Forward From 50, we have been advocating that approach as well. Often what excites people in their childhood and teen years are indications of the purpose for which they were specifically created. Yet, well-meaning family members and friends generally dissuade people from pursuing their dreams in favor of “more practical” careers.

However, that flame often still smolders inside them, creating some regret by wondering “what if” they had taken that route instead of their chosen career path. Retirement is an ideal time for people to reignite that younger passion and pursue it once they are freed from family responsibilities and often have more time and money to chase those dreams.

Like Gill Bentham said in a recent Forward From 50 interview, “Don’t discount anything, even if it’s something physically difficult for you to do now that you’re older. I assure you, there is a version of your earlier dream that you can still pursue and it will be very rewarding.”

Having a purpose in retirement can also contribute to mental sharpness and sustained physical strength, the magazine noted.

Scott is right in that regard. Not only are happy clients likely to generate more referrals to financial advisors, but clients who remain alive are more likely to continue requiring the services of a financial professional.

I like the way Scott explained how adopting a purposeful mindset is like winning the lottery.

“Help rewire clients’ mindsets so that when they think of their retirement, they think of it as their winning lottery ticket — a ticket they can use to explore their passions, both big and small, with more resources than they’ve ever had.”

This article demonstrates the need people over 50 have to tap into the experiences of financial advisors who are their age or even older. The youngsters are likely to focus exclusively on getting the best returns on an investment.

However, older advisors who fully understand how important it is for clients to pursue purpose in their later years as well as their desire to leave a meaningful legacy may have better advice in those areas, too.

The full story can be found at