Financial Planning

Progress–But Still Room For Improvement

In November 2016, I wrote a blog post sharing my bullishness on the financial services industry. I’m even more bullish now than I was back then, but I was recently reminded just how far the financial advisor community still has to go.

Last week I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to hear Ron Carson speak in Indianapolis and learn more about the behemoth of an RIA he is building. It’s nothing short of amazing. $10 billion in total AUM with a pipeline of firms looking to partner with the Carson Group that should have them doubling in no time—easily. 

I left the presentation with a lot of inspiration and two main thoughts:

1.) The technology The Carson Group has created is top notch! Where firms like mine coordinate various technologies to create a “stack” to help us run our firm, serve our clients, and provide information to clients, The Carson Group went out and purchased and/or built their own. They shared how much they have invested in technology, and while it’s not my place share their business I will tell you this…it’s A LOT!! 

2.) There is a greater percentage of financial advisors, than I thought, that have not adjusted to where our industry is headed leaving the industry with a lot of work to do to catch up with our clients’ needs. This is why there is so much speculation around technology, robots, and AI replacing financial advisors; I don’t think this will be the case for all financial advisors—I can assure you it won’t be my fate—but it might be for many.

If you’re a financial advisor, I’ll let you research The Carson Group’s technology on your own. I want to spend the rest of this post on my second thought. 

That still leaves us with the question, Why are so many financial advisors behind the curve?”

Let’s take a quick look at how and why I think many financial advisors are falling behind the trends.

Sales vs. Advice

More families and individuals are wanting advice and not products from their financial advisors. The surveys support this. The conversations I’m having with other financial advisor support this. And more importantly, the conversations I’m having daily with clients support this.

Despite the overwhelming evidence, many advisors remain in the business of recommending products over creating an actual plan. 

Communication With Clients

A question was posed to the group, “How many of you have newsletters?” A decent amount of hands went up. The follow-up was “How many actually like your newsletters?” Only one hand went up.

If financial advisors don’t even like their own newsletters, why would they expect their clients to like them?

But the newsletters continue because that’s what always has been done. I think some communication is better than none, but there are better ways to communicate with clients, and not only are there better ways to communicate, information is consumed differently than it has been in the past.

Blogs, with up to date information. Podcasts. Videos. Social Media. 

These are all different ways to communicate with clients and prospective clients that few financial advisors are doing. But starting any of these takes time, they are a new way of doing things, and they do not provide an immediate return on investment so many financial advisors shun them. Or, their compliance shuns them on their behalf.

So, we’re left with newsletters.


Without the advancements in technology, there is no way I would have been able to start my own firm. But, thanks to my CRM, rebalancing software, client portal, portfolio analytic software, and more I was able to start RLS Wealth Management without the need of a broker/dealer or someone else to provide the infrastructure. Fast forward to today, without technology it would be impossible to blog, record podcasts, and film videos without sacrificing my duties as a financial advisor and doing a huge disservice to my clients.

Maybe it’s a generational thing, but many advisors have neglected to leverage the fantastic technology on the market to create efficiencies in their business, provide better service to their clients, and afford them the ability to spend more time with their clients (and less on administrative stuff). 

I don’t doubt there are clients out there who are happy with the “old school” relationships they have with their financial advisor. But, I’m willing to bet the majority of clients don’t know they could be or should be getting more from their financial advisor. Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. Which is why I will continue to write and share posts like this—not to put down other advisors, but to spread the awareness of what financial planning has grown to become and what it will become.

I am fortunate to be surrounded by some of the best financial advisors in the industry through FinTwit and the XYPlanning Network, and because I’m constantly around advisors that are ahead of the curve I take for granted how many financial advisors have not updated their business. 

So, for my fellow advisors leveraging technology, actively communicating with clients, and positioning yourselves for the future…keep it up.

For those advisors who have yet to update, I say this with the utmost respect, consider it. Yes your clients may be happy now, but they could be even happier and you could be doing an even better job for them. Plus, the day may come when you would like to retire and a firm that is up to date is probably going to be more valuable and marketable than one that’s not.

And finally, for clients, if you’re not receiving advice, if you don’t have a plan, and you’re still being sold investments, there is a better way or at least a way that is potentially better for you. It would be worth your time to check it out and the advisors offering it!

Warning: Explicit lyrics–no edited version available yet.

Disclaimer: Nothing on this blog should be considered advice, or recommendations. If you have questions pertaining to your individual situation you should consult your financial advisor. For all of the disclaimers, please see my disclaimer page.

1 thought on “Progress–But Still Room For Improvement

Comments are closed.