Streamlining the Financial Planning Process

Headshot of Sean Meighan

Sean Meighan, Head of Advisory Services

February 15, 2023

After a long travel day across the country and a late night at the office, I headed across the hotel parking lot for a quick bite to eat at one of my go-to spots in San Diego. I was wrapping up my meal when in walked what could only be described as an “adorable couple.”

The first thought that came to mind was that they looked like the couple I have seen on so many financial professional websites enjoying life in retirement. Maybe on a boat, in a golf cart or playing with their grandchildren, but always with a smile — you know exactly who I’m talking about! When they sat down next to me, I merely smiled and wished them a Happy Valentine’s Day and then headed for the door.

Little did I know that 45 minutes later, I’d be helping Ken and Janice (we’re on a first-name basis now) plan their dream road trip up the Pacific coast to Janice’s hometown of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. It’s a town that — it turns out — I can pronounce correctly but had no clue how to spell. It’s where she grew up and hasn’t visited since she was a child.

Lessons from Ken and Janice

Why am I telling you all this? Ken and Janice obviously planned for their financial life in retirement, but they were really struggling to find enjoyment and fulfillment now that their family was spread all over the country.

We even talked a little shop, and they told me they’ve been collaborating with the same financial professional for the past 35 years. This couple had no clue if their portfolio made 5% or 7% annualized over the past five years. They just want to enjoy spending their hard-earned money and leave a legacy for their family when they are gone.

Statistically, there is an 87% chance that Ken and Janice’s heirs will leave their parent’s financial professional upon their passing. In under an hour, this couple told a random stranger about their entire family structure, dream vacation, challenges they faced during their careers and their favorite charitable organizations. Were they having those conversations with their financial professional?

Advisory objectives for the year ahead

My number one objective for 2023 is to streamline and simplify the financial planning process so financial professionals in the Atria family can have more conversations like I had with Ken and Janice and spend less time entering data and building spreadsheets. We are working on these and other platform enhancements:

  • Auto-completion of plans based on Unio data and a standard set of assumptions that save time and reduce data entry
  • Integrating planning data (e.g., client goals and their probability of success) directly into Unio and Clear1
  • Enhancing the eVault to incorporate estate planning documents

Now’s the time to implement or expand your planning offering

Planning is the next frontier. In 2023, we are going to make it easier to incorporate planning into your practice so you can deliver better and more predictable outcomes for your clients.

At the end of the day, asset management and financial planning alone are not going to help you capitalize on the unprecedented multi-generational wealth transfer that is on the horizon. Building deep and long-lasting relationships across the family tree through human connection is the future of financial advice. We are going to deliver innovative solutions to free up your valuable time so you can focus on the things that matter most to those you have the privilege to serve.

Oh, and I almost forgot, on my way out the restaurant door, I asked Ken and Janice if their financial professional had ever met their children. Bet you can guess what the answer was.