With great turmoil comes great opportunity. As recent macroeconomic conditions have forced many independent financial advisors to rethink their portfolios, those who can focus on more than just short-term losses have the chance to set themselves apart from the pack and build a lasting legacy.
Don't wait until retirement to start thinking about it, legacy is about making an impact on the world around you, and there is no better time to start that than now.
Build Relationships That Matter
If you want to start building a strong foundation for your legacy, there is nothing more important than the client relationships you build and nurture.
Of course, good relationships can be made with clients while working for a large institution, but the reality is that the scale and bureaucracy inherent in larger operations become barriers to developing meaningful connections that are truly legacy-building.
Instead, use the flexibility of being independent to make real connections with your clients by understanding and delivering to their individual needs and being disciplined about always giving them the best of yourself.
Remember: relationship building is not a zero-sum game — though it may seem like that based on how some institutions operate. The more generosity you show, the more you set others around you up for success, and the more this sets up a positive legacy for yourself and ensures your efforts are rewarded by client loyalty.
In the world of financial planning, the term "relationship" holds a weight that extends beyond profit margins. As an independent financial advisor, embrace the freedom to foster genuine connections with your clients. Unlike the rigid structures of larger institutions, your independence allows you to tailor your services to individual needs. Be disciplined in offering personalized solutions and understand the unique aspirations and challenges your clients face in their pursuit of financial security and legacy.
Understand Your Higher Purpose and Position Yourself for Growth
It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day chaos of a market correction, especially if you have a manager breathing down your neck who has another manager breathing down their neck, as many advisors do in larger companies.
While making money is critical for any business, people trying to build anything of value understand that this is secondary to finding a higher purpose.
What this higher purpose is will differ from advisor to advisor. It could be ensuring your clients have a superlative customer service experience. It could be investing in social impact. It could be trying to create a profitable work environment that gives yourself and your staff the ability to have a work-life balance.
The point is your clients and employees want to know why they are doing what they are doing. And if you can communicate that to them clearly — and show them that you are working towards these ends — that is where lasting impressions are made.
What’s also true is that having a clear vision of what you want to do and where you are going helps you and those around you better navigate blips in the market and position yourself for sustainable growth over time.
Legacy is not just about accumulating wealth; it's about creating a narrative of purpose and impact. Position yourself for growth by aligning financial strategies with these higher purposes. When clients and employees understand the "why" behind your actions, it fosters a sense of shared values and purpose. In times of market turbulence, this shared vision becomes a guiding light, ensuring sustainable growth over time.
Share Your Ideas, They Matter
While coming up with the next finance app or fintech unicorn is probably a couple of bridges too far for your average family office, you can still punch above your weight and work towards legacy through thought leadership.
Consider this study, which highlighted the following statistics:
54% of corporate decision-makers consume at least 1 hour of thought leadership a week. But 71% of these same people believe that what they read gives them no valuable insights.
This is an incredible opportunity for advisors who can articulate unique ideas and perspectives. Growing your audience is one obvious dividend of taking thought leadership seriously. But not far behind that is the ability, over time, to influence opinions, inspire conversation, attract new talent and battle-test your ideas as you interact with your growing community of followers.
In the digital age, your influence goes beyond boardroom discussions. Become a thought leader in your field by sharing unique perspectives and innovative ideas. Leverage various platforms, from blogs and mailing lists to YouTube and Twitter, to disseminate your insights. As a financial planner, your opinions have the power to not only attract a broader audience but also to shape opinions and inspire conversations. There are few things as powerful as a good idea communicated compellingly. If you make a habit of it, your legacy will start building itself.
As custodians of wealth and architects of legacy planning for themselves as well as others, financial advisors possess a distinctive ability to influence the trajectory of their clients' financial narratives. It's not merely about the numbers but about the stories woven into the fabric of generational wealth. For business owners, particularly, independent financial advisors play a pivotal role in crafting strategies that safeguard and amplify their entrepreneurial legacy. The unique position of independence allows for a tailored approach, ensuring that every financial decision aligns with the broader narrative of purpose and sustainability. By consistently delivering personalized solutions and fostering authentic connections, advisors solidify their role as trusted stewards of financial assets and the intangible essence of a lasting legacy.
Ultimately, everything boils down to the people and situations you've influenced and the manner in which your actions resonate when the dust settles. Independent financial advisors possess a distinctive opportunity to acknowledge this reality, ensuring that their impact is substantial, positive, and leaves a lasting mark on their legacy.
“2021 B2B Thought Leadership Impact Study,” Edelman: https://www.edelman.com/sites/g/files/aatuss191/files 2021–09/2021_EdelmanLinkedIn_B2B_ThoughtLeadershipImpact.pdf