I’m a huge fan of Clark Howard. (I’ve been listening to his podcast for years.) And it’s not just the fact that he dispenses invaluable financial advice. Of course, that’s great. But the thing that’s really awesome about Clark Howard is how genuine he is. He really wants to help people. He really wants to do the right thing. It’s amazing. Planet Earth needs more people like him!
That Time I Met Clark Howard
Being a huge Clark Howard fan, I was super excited when I learned that he was going to be the keynote speaker for FinCon 2016. (I had already signed up to attend FinCon 2016 late in 2015.) I couldn’t wait to hear Clark Howard speak in person.
On the evening of his talk, I grabbed a seat in the front row. As luck would have it, Clark hung out after his talk to answer questions from the audience of bloggers, vloggers, and financial advisers, alike. This was my chance to ask him a burning question – and so I did. I asked:
“What’s your secret routine that has made you so successful? Do you meditate in the morning? Jog five miles before before checking e-mail? Eat a vegan, low-acid, gluten-free, low-carb, paleo diet?”
I was surprised by his answer. But I’ll always remember it – because much like most of his financial advice, I think it makes sense.
Clark Howard’s Secret to Success
Don’t be judgmental.
It’s a simple strategy. And if you’re a financial adviser, it’s a very valuable piece of advice.
As financial advisers, we know it all. Or at least we think we do. We’re the experts, and our clients are the noobs. As an expert, it’s pretty easy to chide and laugh at the rookie moves executed by these financial novices that are our clients.
But, if you critique, or berate, or lecture, or “talk down to,” the person you are working with is going to shut down. That berated person is not going to take your financial advice and therefore they’re not going to be better off.
In short, a great bedside manner is key in the art of dispensing financial advice. The value of advice, then, is not just the advice itself, but in the delivery of that advice.
Putting Clark Howard’s Suggestion into Practice.
I strive to do just this, but of course, I can always be better at it. This means congratulating clients on small victories.
Perhaps it means calling a client a “rockstar” when they ask to make a transfer to fund their Roth IRA for the year. If a client just put their estate planning to bed, a high five is in order. And, if you’re working with a client struggling to manage their budget, call out their success for any creative ways to save money. (And if you’re looking for ideas to save money, check out this blog post.)
Remember: don’t chide clients for what they are not doing, but congratulate them on what they’ve already accomplished!