Is the Financial Advisor community too sensitive to change?

“That’s a little harsh, don’t you think?” Was something that I heard recently from a group of Financial Advisors when I commented that someone starting in financial planning should not waste time hiring someone a freelancer to create their value adds from scratch.

5 min read

Jamie Shilanski
Financial Planner, CFP®

I have grown up in the Financial Planning world. My father, a rockstar Financial Advisor, always planted seeds with us kids when we were little. He was also instrumental in taking us to conferences, continuing education programs, and ensuring that we were exposed to as much financial information as possible.

In the 1980s and 1990s, this was mostly a “good old boy club” of Financial Advisors. They were clawing their way to the top, smashing through goals and being flown to quasi-exotic destinations when they reached a peak level of performance for whatever broker-dealer, wirehouse, or insurance company that was pumping them full of “sale, sale, sale” mantras.

Fast forward to the 2000s, and the industry pulled back significantly. Perhaps because of the compliance conversations around fee compression. Or, maybe it was the threat of being replaced by a Robo Advisor?

Do not get me wrong; we needed a little change. I loved seeing the conversation change from “sales, sales, sales” to “values, values, values.” Everyone was talking about values-based financial planning – a concept that Bill Bacharach was pioneering earlier – and it was amazing. 

Is the Financial Advisor community too sensitive to change?

Values-based financial planning is my jam, so do not get me wrong. I love making a meaningful difference in people’s lives. In fact, our office embraced this so much that we forbade any industry trophies from being displayed. The only scoreboard we keep are cards, letters, and thank you notes from the hundreds of clients we have helped over the years.

Today though… man, oh man, does it seem like everyone has become so sensitive. They walk around thinking that being “offended” translates into some hex that equates to them waking up the next morning and having leprosy – if you don’t get this reference, YouTube Steve Hughes (worth 3 minutes).

“That’s a little harsh, don’t you think?” Was something that I heard recently from a group of Financial Advisors when I commented that someone starting in financial planning should not waste time hiring someone off of FIVERR to create their value adds from scratch. Doing so was amateur hour, and if they wanted to get to the top, whatever peak they set for themselves, they needed not waste time reinventing the wheel during those formative years of developing their practice.

“Whoa…whoa… whoa… that was a little mean, don’t you think, Jamie?” No. I think it was direct, to the point, and advice that was 100% worth listening to; advice that would save a Financial Advisor thousands of dollars and countless hours. 

Think about it, you are starting out in Financial Advising, and you barely have your niche developed yet, alone, and no marketing plan on how to get, retain clientele and encourage clients to refer to you. This is not the time to interview b-level designers on FIVERR and try to come up with kick !#!@ value adds to deliver to clients. 

At this stage in your career, you’ve heard the expression, trademarked by The Perfect RIA, about Delivering Massive Value, but you are not quite sure how to do that.

Michael Kitces does a phenomenal job of highlighting that he believes the top 4% of Financial Advisors are routinely delivering value adds to their clients consistently. So, rather than trying to figure out this incredibly important topic on your own, you need to find out who is doing it already. 

Trying to map out a value adds calendar on your own, create each value add from scratch AND routinely deliver them to clients with a PROVEN success track record of doing so (I mean, you would not want to deliver something to clients that was an epic fail – trust me, been there – you do not want to do it too) and you want to trust that work to be done by some Billy Bob No Name on Fiverr? Yeah right! 

Not only would you have to explain everything to them in significant detail (unless Billy Bob No Name is also a Financial Advisor who side hustles on FIVERR), but you would also have to create a strategy to try the value add’s out on your low to middle-ranked clients before you delivered it to your top clientele. Why? Because if there are errors, mistakes, or a failed execution, you certainly do not want that to be discovered when meeting with your top clients. Talk about an amateur hour, for sure! 

Instead, why wouldn’t you enroll in a coaching program that not only tells you what your value adds need to be by quarter but also go one step further – gives you access to the value adds that were tried in not one but TWO of the country’s leading RIA’s whose Financial Advisors are already making 7+ figures? Genius.

That is probably why I think The Perfect RIA (TPR) has been the most controversial and highly sought-after program for Financial Advisors who do not want to sit under a tree and talk about their feelings all day long but instead take action to conquer. They unpack their head trash, call it out for what it is and really get into “feelings” in a raw, push you to be your best self and take no prisoners kind of way.

For sensitive people too? Nope. Not a chance. In fact, sensitive people are cautioned not to apply for membership in this coaching program on steroids; it won’t be a good fit.

We have to push to achieve excellence. We have to strive towards excellence because our clients deserve it from us. Most of us Financial Advisors have hundreds of families depending on us to help them achieve their own personal growth goals, provide stability and see them through the most extreme of life’s situations. They do not need us to be sensitive; they need us to be compassionate warriors.  

The Financial Advisor community needs to get uncomfortable. If we do not, we cannot grow.  


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