Holistic Financial Planning the shepard FINANCIAL Way

Many wealth management firms are embracing holistic financial planning which is a trend based on improved client relationships and a more client-centered approach to planning & wealth management. This is good news! It’s meant to better serve individual clients and their families in a long-term way, but to us “holistic financial planning” has a much deeper meaning. In the mainstream, holistic financial planning is still very much about an advisor’s performance, using existing products & services to provide a broader strategy, and using updated technologies to report across varied investment accounts. It’s still about what the advisor is doing, not who the clients are and how they naturally understand money. Without that crucial understanding, attempting “holistic financial planning” is like trying to paint a house with one arm tied behind your back.

Here’s what we know: every single person is born with a specific understanding of life. We’ve called this the 7 Financial Natures because that’s how this pertains to our business. You have a set of financial skills, an innate understanding of how money functions, how to get it, how to use it, how to value it, and how to trade it. Money and finance do not need to be upsetting, threatening, judging, confounding, or immobilizing. Money and finance can be supportive, safe, exciting, uplifting, and positive. This is the perspective from which we operate, and this is what we want all clients to understand- a perspective shift is necessary to evolve with your money. It usually means letting go of what you think you know about yourself and money so that you can learn new ways to relate to it, interact with it, build wealth, prepare for the future, exist in partnership with your finances, and grow as a person as your money supports the life you want.

To us, holistic financial planning doesn’t begin with what we can do for you. It begins with your financial nature. There are always a number of ways to reach a goal, but your plan has to respect your nature. For example, a Taker might need convincing to accept that they are not broke. Spenders often need some help reframing their expenses and feeling good about that. Earners would likely love to know about unearned income so they can relax a bit. Telling a Saver the only way to prepare for the future is to invest every penny from their savings would likely result in a panic attack and losing a client. Investors often need some guidance in terms of investing- they’ll want to do it themselves. Levers can get into trouble by trying to make their lives less expensive. Givers are going to need some support to seize an opportunity like a financial gift.

Without knowing what a client’s nature is, there is no way to completely tailor advice and create a strategy that supports them the way they need. Our focus is first on a client’s nature, how they need to receive information, and what role time plays in rolling out a considered plan. Plans can include conventional products & services but knowing when and how to implement specific products is fully informed by each individual client. It’s not that we’re saying what other advisors do is wrong. It’s that we believe there is a way to be of greater service and we’re dedicated to taking our practice to a higher level.