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What it Means to Be a Financial Planner with Hannah Moore

As the founder of the financial planning education and training company Amplified Planning, Hannah Moore says our profession should transform lives, not just manage assets for the wealthy. Hannah is Reese Harper’s guest on this episode of Elementality. She passionately presents the reasons why harmonizing money with client core values is the future for our industry.

During their conversation, Reese and Hannah detail real-life examples of helping clients optimize their wealth in parallel with their values. The challenge is now tapping into the growing market of people who want to align their lives with how money flows through it. For Hannah, the first step is education and moving from old school sales training to training on what it really means to be a financial planner.

 


Podcast Transcript

Hannah Moore:
There is a massive training gap, because we have the old school industry, if you will, that’s training on sales. How do you find clients? They’re not training on how to actually be a financial planner. They’re training on how to bring clients in and sell them product of the day. And I’m being a little bit, yes, there’s some very good work that’s done in that space, but we’re not … You look at those training programs, it’s not about, how do you do a financial plan? How do you sit across the table from a client? How do you engage them?

Hannah Moore:
The purpose for all of those is to get a sale, and I get, we’re all in sales, right? But when we look at, what does it mean to be a financial planner? What does it mean for us to be a profession? I know we were talking about that before this. It really is, it’s about our work with how we’re doing with our clients.

Abby Morton:
Welcome to Elementality. I am Abby Morton, CFP, and producer of our podcast here at Elements. I love being a financial planner, but I know it’s a challenging profession as well. That’s why the number one goal of our show is to help you prosper as an advisor, as you better connect with your clients. We know your time is very valuable. Plan on a good return when you spend it here with us.

Reese Harper:
Welcome to another episode of Elementality, everybody. Super excited to be here with someone who had a very interesting article that I read on her website, Hannah Moore. Welcome to the show. I will tell everyone about this article. You don’t even know it because I haven’t told you what article I liked so much, but welcome.

Hannah Moore:
Yes. Well, thank you for having me, Reese. Yeah, I’m really interested now, I’m like, which article?

Reese Harper:
Yeah. I’m going to keep doing teasers like this. You have to stay tuned folks for the rest of the show to know what article I’m talking about. No, Hannah’s website is Guiding Wealth. You can go to guidingwealth.com. Hannah, I’m not going to steal your thunder, but tell us a little bit about your background, a little bit about what you do now. We’ll then take like five minutes of intro here so people can get oriented, and then I will tell them about the article that I thought was very interesting and a topic of conversation I’m excited to start out with.

Hannah Moore:
Yes, so I started my career, I was 22, fresh out of college with a degree in financial services and planning. I started working for a woman who was 68 at the time. Four years later, I ended up buying her practice, bought another small practice. I had between 250 and 300 clients, which is just wild. Working the 60 hour weeks, getting everything done. I ended up leaving, taking kind of my top tier. Really, I should say this, my financial planning clients. I took my financial planning clients with me, started an RIA, and so that’s where I’ve been ever since then.

Hannah Moore:
In that transition, I had a lot of free time on my hands. There was a seminar series at my local FPA chapter called You’re a Financial Planner, Now What? Right about this time, the people who were leading it, they retired, if you will, and said, “Hannah, do you want to take this over?” And I was like, “Yeah, sure. I love this.” This is where I learned how to do financial planning. Every time I come home, my husband who was at the time working at a TV station, so he has a film and digital media background, I kept going home to him and I was like, “This is some of the best content out here right now, in financial planning.”

Hannah Moore:
“I’m reading everything. This has been just so transformational. And there’s like five people here.” He’s just like, “Well, why don’t you put it on the internet?” And I’m like, “Yeah, I don’t know how to do that.” And he’s like, “I do.” So, we took this over. He took days off of work. He would come and record us. I started realizing, oh my gosh, people will talk to me for an hour. We started this podcast … We started the podcast called You’re a Financial Planner, Now What? We did that. We’re in 50-ish episodes.

Hannah Moore:
We started getting some traction with it, but it was getting to be a big project, and we were just like, this isn’t what we want to do. Anyway, in that process, we connected with National FPA, and they were like, okay, so don’t shut this down, because we were talking about that, and they came back and said, hey, would you help us build out our new planner initiatives? I was like, yeah. I really care about this because of my experiences. So, we’ve been working with them for the last several years, helping them build out their new planner initiatives.

Hannah Moore:
Some of the big things, we have FPA activate Facebook group that we run, we have the podcast we run. Last year, 2020, we started the FPA Externship program. So, it’s a summer internship program for students. We’re finding tons of career changers are those who are new in financial planning. Frankly, I learn something new every single week in the externship, so I think it’s a huge resource for every financial planner out there.

Reese Harper:
I’m going to pause you cause you are like giving me a lot to think about. And I’m like, I’m a slow minded human here. I feel like that there really wasn’t like as many resources for what we know financial planning to be today at that time, and it’s really shifting a lot right now.

Hannah Moore:
It was so true. I will say that where we are right now, there is such a gap we have. There’s such an education gap because nobody’s training. Very few people, I mean, we’re in this space with the externship. I don’t know if we’ll talk about our amplified planning core product. We’re really trying to provide some of this training, but there is a massive training gap because we have the old school industry, if you will, that’s training on sales, how do you find clients? They’re not training on how to actually be a financial planner. They’re training on how to bring clients in and sell them product of the day.

Hannah Moore:
I’m being a little bit, yes, there’s some very good work that’s done in that space, but we’re not … You look at those training programs, it’s not about, how do you do a financial plan? How do you sit across the table from a client? How do you engage them? The purpose for all of those is to get a sale. I get, we’re all in sales, right? But when we look at, what does it mean to be a financial planner? What does it mean for us to be a profession? I know we were talking about that before this, it really is, it’s about our work with how we’re doing with our clients.

Hannah Moore:
I work with clients where it’s not about a product sale. It’s not about that. It’s so much more. I think there’s a massive, massive gap. If everybody listening to this podcast sat down and started providing resources for planners on how to be better planners, we are still going to be short of where we need to be.

Reese Harper:
The article on your website that I thought was interesting was the … I think the title, I’m doing this by memory now, but I think it was like something about the sandwich generation. It was like financial concerns for the sandwich generation, or that was like a header, and then there was some articles below that, but there was one that … I mean, first, I’m going to just ask you to explain, what is the sandwich generation and your view?

Hannah Moore:
Sandwich generations are people who are supporting their parents and their kids. That can be … We have a number of clients ourselves who are doing that, and it can look very different, but oftentimes it’s … We’re fortunate in this spot right now with our personal lives where we’re not having to support any of our parents. But it’s often there’s … When you have to start stepping in and help support your parents, there’s usually additional struggles that are going on there. So, it’s just a ton of stress.

Hannah Moore:
Again, it’s like, how do you handle the resources? One of the things about money is it touches every area of our lives. When we start looking at supporting your parents, as well as your children, that’s a huge financial stress. As financial planners, how can we come in and help, help clients in that space?

Reese Harper:
Financial planners are in a unique position to both understand the needs and the resources and the issues that people older than them have and people that are younger than them have. The industry seems to just focus on advice for people that have, once they hit age 55, once they hit age 60, that’s when wealth management really begins when they have a pile of money when they do a roll over IRA. I was telling you this before the episode, and it’s kind of where I want to pivot to, or just add too, I feel like there’s an arbitrary line right now when financial planning begins or wealth management begins, and we’ve created it through these asset minimums and these minimum asset requirements for people to be engaged with us.

Reese Harper:
In truth, that kind of pushes the natural age of engagement, like high, and it also reduces the impact dramatically that we can have as an industry. Because if you’re targeting people that already have liquidity, that have reached a certain point of liquidity, the likelihood that they actually need advice or need help isn’t as high as if they had no money. If two people, both making $200,000, one of them has a million at age 50, and one of them has 200 at age 50, they both made the same amount of money their entire life, but one has liquidity, one does not.

Reese Harper:
The person that didn’t have liquidity would have benefited the most from someone being there along the journey. But your entry point was, whenever you already have made good enough decisions to hit my desk, then I’ll let you basically outsource everything to me so you don’t have to worry about it. But as an industry, we’re not engaging in the creation of wealth, in the assistance of building liquidity in the behavioral counseling, because we’re arbitrarily setting the entry point.

Reese Harper:
Most people who have that much money would have gotten there without us. By the time they show up on our doorstep, they’re actually asking for a service more than they are help if they have large amounts of liquidity. If you want to make an impact, the question that I always ask people is like, why are we creating this arbitrary line? With technology, maybe we can change this, and that’s what Elements is kind of all about, so I kind of have an agenda on this topic. I’m not trying to be salesy here, but like, I want to see the industry be less rigid, and when we start and be more flexible with people in how they begin with us.

Hannah Moore:
Yeah. I love it. No, we’re definitely the same mindset. Let me reframe this into two different concepts. We have the industry of financial services and we have the profession of financial planning. When we look at this, we look at, what is the difference between an industry and a profession? We’ll look at professions. Professions have an esoteric body of work, is a research thoughtful. There’s research that goes behind it. This isn’t just me spouting off something. It’s not me washing your windows. There’s some thoughtful, there’s research, there’s academic there’s university is behind it. We have that in financial planning.

Hannah Moore:
This is a thing for me. It also, a profession is what deals with every single person, right? The medical profession, every single person has to reckon with their body, right? With medical issues. Law. In our society, every single person has to reconcile with law, whether or not I’m going to stop at the stop sign outside of my office or not. It just goes into every single area of … It impacts every single person. I would argue and contend that financial planning as a profession, because money impacts every single person in their life.

Hannah Moore:
I don’t care how much money you have. If you have $10 million, $10,000, or you have so much credit card debt and student loans, there is room in there for a financial planner to make a positive impact, because this is what we are. We are a profession. We are a helping profession, right? We are here to help people. The industry of financial services will focus on the asset management. They will focus on just the money, the dollars. We were just talking about sandwich generation.

Hannah Moore:
They will focus on, okay, well, you might need to quit your job, so roll over that 401k. But the profession of financial planning is going to focus at how does money intersect with their life? Yes, it is those dollars and cents. It is managing the assets and it is also helping them evaluate their money decisions. The complexity that our clients are facing is just tremendous and enormous. That sandwich generation example, I think about working with a client in this space. I’m going to be talking to them about, if there’s a nursing home, what type of nursing home do you want to be taking your parents to?

Hannah Moore:
What are you willing to give? What are you not willing to give financially? How is this impacting your marriage, your personal finances within your household? We’re going to be talking about the kids. We’re going to be talking, how do we teach our kids about money? How do we give them that whole, give a fish, buy a fish, all that, teach them how to fish? That analogy, how do we teach your kids about money? How do we engage with them? What are the appropriate boundaries to have? Those are still financial conversations, but they’re not tied to assets, and they’re tied to more of those conversations.

Hannah Moore:
When we look at financial planning as a profession, and I would say that we are a profession, that’s going to change the projection of where we go, the future of financial planning. Yes, financial planners have to … We have to, it is our generations prerogative. I will say this. I believe that it is our generation’s responsibility to figure out how we take financial planning to the masses. It is not good enough.

Hannah Moore:
Like you were just saying, that once you get successful, we will help you. It’s not good enough. We have to be able to figure out how to help people who are in need with their finances. That’s what we are as a profession. That is our identity as financial planners. We talk about financial advisors go manage assets. That’s great, and that’s good, but that’s an industry. We’re a profession. This is so much bigger than that. This is how you transform lives, is by helping the profession of financial planning. Financial industries, yes, but professions transform lives, and that’s what we’re here for.

Reese Harper:
How do you see … That’s where I’m struggling to see where the intersection is for most people, because I feel like that marriage is what we need, not the polar shift to one direction, because if we give up all the technical, then I think our profession also has less to offer to the community, right? If we’re just therapists, if that makes sense. I want to hear your point of view on this.

Hannah Moore:
Yeah, absolutely. Well, when I think about, what is the essence of financial planning? There’s certainly, like CFP board’s given us definitions that, I mean, that’s great. But for me, the essence of financial planning is where your money intersects with your life. That’s really our space. I completely agree with you. We could go out and be counselors, and they’re not trained on money either by the way, but we can … I think we pull from the best of all these different places as another characteristic of a profession.

Hannah Moore:
We are a standalone profession, because these issues are so unique and there’s nobody else to fill in this gap. You talk about the academic world, I think it’s actually one of the most incredible stories, I mean, across … Just take out financial planning. It’s one of the most incredible stories of there’s over 300 different universities having a financial planning program across this country. We now have PhD programs. We’re developing, we’re doing this research, we’re training this, we are building up that body of knowledge.

Hannah Moore:
Now, it’s, how do we apply it? How do you take this body of knowledge? Because you know as well as I do, if you walk into a client meeting and you just say, here’s all the technical things that you need to do, are they going to implement? The reality is, is that maybe, likely no. How do we actually do that? That’s a lot of the work that I’m doing in the Amplified Planning Core right now is actually showing real client meetings, showing what this looks like in practice, to show … We actually videoed client meetings.

Hannah Moore:
Then I provide commentary on it. So, I’ll provide, so here’s where I screwed up, or here’s why I asked these types of things. But I really do believe, when we look at the trends happening again, macro trends happening in financial planning, we are a codified profession and we’re figuring this out and it’s uncomfortable and it’s painful, and businesses don’t know how to adapt to it. People don’t understand inherently what financial planning is, but I’m telling you, we are getting 4,000 to 5,000 new CPs every year, and they know.

Hannah Moore:
The landscape of financial planning is shifting, especially as technology is becoming more of a thing, we’re … All of us, okay, I’ll speak for myself because this is where I’m from. But when you really start from the wealth management point where you’re managing … You have million dollar minimums, that type of space, it’s hard to imagine, how do we bring our services down? There are so many people who are looking at this right now from a FinTech innovation standpoint, who, they’re starting with, how do we provide services to these people? And then maybe we’ll get up there.

Hannah Moore:
It’s just a whole different perspective. It’s incredibly exciting if our goal is to really help people with their money. I love this idea and the future is human. I hear that a lot, where it’s like, we’ve been like technology, technology, technology. We’re so tired of that. We want real people. I want to know the person across the table. Are you real, right?

Reese Harper:
Yeah.

Hannah Moore:
One of the things with planners, with these new planners is there’s so much … There’s a huge confidence issue with new planners of, how am I supposed to come in and tell somebody how to do their money when my financial situation is a mess? Or even if it’s in great shape.

Reese Harper:
Yes. Oh my gosh, that’s a big deal. Yeah.

Hannah Moore:
Oh my gosh. It’s like, how do we come in and we have confidence with this? I don’t think our clients expect us to have everything together. I think, in fact, our imperfections actually make us better. But that’s a whole nother, I mean, we could talk about, that’s a whole nother podcast episode right there. But I think this idea is the future is human, right? I want to know that who I work with cares, that they know about me, that they remember me, that they know about my husband, they know about my two girls, that they know, what am I trying to do? They don’t need to know like my favorite salad or my favorite restaurant or anything like that. I don’t care.

Hannah Moore:
Again, to your point about complexity, but so in the externship this last year, we recorded six client meetings. It was with John and Diana. We recorded these six client meetings, and then what we did is we brought John and Diana back, and we let the externs ask them anything. It was basically an AMA with these clients that I worked with. Now, these clients, let me tell you a little bit about them, so John and Diana, he’s 64 and she’s like 59 going into retirement. They have about $400,000 in assets, not enough to maintain their lifestyle.

Hannah Moore:
Basically, when we run their plan in eMoney, which we were doing in the externship, it’s real hard to make it work. It’s really hard. Anyway, they got to see all these client meetings. This was a running thread, like in the forums during the externship, of being like, oh my gosh, John and Diana, what are we going to do? How do we fix them? What’s great is number one, we don’t fix clients, right? We don’t. We do not do that. That’s such the wrong mindset.

Hannah Moore:
We brought them into this … It was just a couple of weeks ago, we had a live call. All these externs got to ask them all these questions. Basically we asked, how did financial planning, how did these six meetings with Hannah that all the externs got to see, how did that change your life? How did that impact your life? And they sat there and Diana said, it gave us hope about our finances. I was not expecting that. Because I was expecting them to be like … There’s a whole host of other things, but that’s what we can do as financial planners. So, we brought clarity to their financial situation and they got to see, this is not what we thought it was.

Hannah Moore:
We can not maintain our life like this. We’re going to make some very hard decisions. We are not going to be able to retire the time we want to, or probably even the way that we want to, but what it did, they had that, oh, shoot moment, and then …

Reese Harper:
Yeah. You can say it. This is an expressive podcast.

Hannah Moore:
Yeah, we had the, oh, shit moment of like, shit, what are we going to do? They talked about that. They talked about going home and being … Realizing how overwhelming it was to realize that, no matter how much they work now, no matter how much they saved that they were not going to be in the financial situation they wanted to. But what came after that? And that was really where the hope came in for them. That’s what they identified as a value of going through financial planning. How do you quantify that? How do you put that in a financial projection? We can do the eMoney, but the eMoney is a tool.

Hannah Moore:
Our financial planning software is a tool. What we do as financial planners is how we interact with the people across from us. How do we help them bring that clarity? How do we help them, guide them through the process so that they leave our office with hope for how they can better their financial situation? That’s how we change the world.

Abby Morton:
Something I often struggle with as an advisor is knowing if I’m doing enough. I tend to wonder, do my clients think I’m worth what they are paying me, or am I delivering enough value? Having used the Elements Financial Planning System for over two years now. This system provides me with the peace of mind we all need as advisors. Your clients can receive professional, easy to comprehend scorecards focused on key indicators of their financial health. They can actually see how your advice is improving their life. With an occasional update from you, they’ll know, you’re right there with them watching their progress. So, come check out Elements at getelements.com/meet.

Reese Harper:
What you discovered or what you may … You probably already knew this, that you’re highlighting the discovery, which was interacting with John and Diana, giving them some attention, giving them some space, giving them some human connection and some advice, they are going to make some progress. They are going to make some progress. Progress is more important than financial independence. Progress is more important than wealth. Progress is more important to people because they’re willing to accept the imperfections in their circumstances. They are.

Reese Harper:
People don’t expect their circumstances to be perfect, but they do like to feel like they’re moving somewhere in a positive direction. The challenge for me about modeling Monte Carlo simulations that are related to retirement planning is that there are millions, like hundreds of millions of people that will never actually be in a place where they can be financially independent. Never. They’re just never going to get to that place. They’ll have to have a part time job all through retirement and social security will be the reason that they can make it.

Reese Harper:
However, progress is still meaningful to those people, and progress feels so valuable to them. Progress feels like I go from 10,000 to 15,000 in the bank, 15,000 to 18,000 in the bank. My mortgage gets paid down a little bit. I’m making these positive decisions and we should be able to help people get to a better place. I just feel like we’ve gotten obsessed with like, the result is a perfect retirement where you don’t do anything, but really, we need to be not so dogmatic about that for many people. You know, when you sit down with a client, that you don’t …

Reese Harper:
If you see some with a $500,000 net worth and they’re spending 80 grand a year, the Monte Carlo simulation is not going to look good. So, don’t put it in front of them and make them feel that. That’s my view. Now, I’d like to hear, you have strong opinions and I want to hear them.

Hannah Moore:
Let me tell you a story. This is what’s coming to mind. I had a family member, so I’ve been talking to her for a long time. Again, my whole thing is people’s relationship with money. Yes, it’s the numbers, it’s a projection, that’s incredibly important. I will never … Take the externship. There is a level of rigor there that it’s incredibly important. But I think back to the story, it was actually my mom, and we were at Thanksgiving, and so I’ve had lots of money conversations with her because that’s what I do, it’s what I do.

Hannah Moore:
Anyway, we were talking about this and she was talking about the value of having those conversations with me. So, we were at a Thanksgiving. So, all of my family, so my five siblings and we’re all there, and she said that this was the first trip, she’s like, “We’ve done family events before,” but she’s like, “this is the first trip that we could …” They paid for most of the event, like all the food and stuff there, all that stuff. And she’s like, “It’s the first time that we’ve been able to pay, to be able to have … We were able to pay for everything.” And she’s like, “And I didn’t have that nagging thing in the back of my head that said, we should be saving this money. We should be putting this for somewhere else.”

Hannah Moore:
She’s like, “So, it’s the first time that I’ve been able to fully spend money on my family and enjoy it for exactly what it is.” When I think about, when we start looking at money, we start looking at … We can look at, we could talk about poverty, and there’s certainly so many issues there, that are there. We can talk about, what is enough? I think that’s a huge conversation that I have with my clients. How much is enough? When we start talking about these things, these are gonna be, how does this money intersect with them? Are they able to have joy in their life?

Hannah Moore:
One of my big things is values-based planning or helping our clients identify what their core values are in life. And then, how does their money filter through that? We have a whole thing, the budgeting block’s like a whole nother conversation, but one of the things that we do on that is we have clients take their values, apply it to their budget, how they’re spending their money. Then we say, how does this reflect on your core values in life? Where are the places that it enhances it or where does money that really enhances these values? Or where does it not enhance these values? What would it look like if your money reflected your core values in life?

Hannah Moore:
Every budget tells a story, right? This whole idea of our money, show me your checkbook and I’ll show you what’s important to you, right? Every budget’s different and every budget tells a story. Is that a story aligned with what’s most important to me and my husband? Because at the end of the day, that’s what matters, and I don’t care how much money you have, your budget tells a story. When we look at it from that perspective … Marie Kondo, she was big a couple of years ago about every item in your home should bring you joy. I believe that every dollar we spend should bring us joy.

Hannah Moore:
I don’t care how much money you have, I’m going to say that I believe that that is true. Where we can shift this mindset for people of, you can say scarcity to abundance, or whatever it may be, but to really be intentional, be mindful about their money, and that’s going to change their relationship with money. Is their relationship with money controlling them. That is such a huge issue at every income level. Again, this is bringing in some of that counseling into this, but that’s incredibly important. Now, you pair that relational topic, and then you bring in the expertise with it, right? So, it can be okay, so we don’t want to worry about money. What does that look like?

Reese Harper:
I want to go back to the … Because I felt like I wanted to make sure that you … The extreme comment I made about forecasting, I want to just kind of touch back on that and see what your real thoughts are. Okay, so Jim and Diane, we know … I guess I don’t want to make assumptions about this, because some people, when they sit down to do a plan, they don’t know what the situation is going to look like until they put all the data in and then model it, right?

Hannah Moore:
Let me tell you what I did. Let me tell you what I did with them. Maybe that’s probably a good place. I think this will answer … This will kind of address it. If you’re in the externship or you can find all these meetings on Amplified Planning as well. What I did is I was getting ready for this meeting and I was doing … It’s a normal meeting where I would pull out my eMoney projections and I could not make it work. I was sitting there and I was just like, I cannot show this to my clients. I know these clients, it’s going to overwhelm them. I’m not doing this to them. What I ended up doing, I ended up, and again, I’ve never done this with any other clients but this is really again where we can work, customized financial planning advice.

Hannah Moore:
What I did is I took note cards, because they had a couple of factors. They had their total living expenses. They had John’s social security, they had Diana’s social security. There is a little bit of a TRS teacher fund piece on it. Then it was, what are they willing to work? Those are the basic elements that came in there. What I did, in the meeting, I pulled out these note cards. Mind you, this is all recorded, so I’m not sure if it was the best idea, but whatever. You figure out what works. I basically said, you wanted to spend $8,000. John’s social security, we have three options. He can retire today. He can retire at full retirement age or this other number, or we can retire at age 70.

Hannah Moore:
So, it was like they got to pick. We had $8,000 and they had three options for John for his social security. The next line we had Diana’s and we had three option for hers. Then we had, it was, what money was going to come in from their investments? They had one option on that like, this is how much your investment portfolio will sustain every year for the rest of your life. That was a set number. So, we had the 8,000 minus what they picked for John versus what they picked for Diana, minus their investment income, equal the shortfall. Then we talked about that shortfall. Then it was, okay, well, what are we going to do? What does this look like?

Reese Harper:
I don’t need to know the dollar amount of the shortfall, but as a percentage of their total budget, what was the shortfall?

Hannah Moore:
They’re spending about 8,000 a month. In retirement, it’ll be about 5,000, so they need to cut about $3,000 out.

Reese Harper:
Okay. So, they need to find $3,000 somewhere per month.

Hannah Moore:
3,000 to 3,500, yeah.

Reese Harper:
Which is like a really hard thing to do for people. They’re just like freaking out. I mean, not freaking out, but that’s a big … That was the moment. That was the moment, right? Yeah. Okay.

Hannah Moore:
Well, they had a couple in this process. We went through this process with them and so we got to this number and they’re just … Then what’s great about this approach, so this isn’t the forecasting. This is sitting on the same side of the table as your clients. So, we got to say, okay, we have a problem. How do we do this? I didn’t have the answers. I went into this meeting, with a camera in the meeting.

Reese Harper:
You’re a guide.

Hannah Moore:
Exactly. I’m a guide. We started talking through this. So, what does this look like? For them, we looked at, okay, so what is this $8,000?

Reese Harper:
So, you didn’t even show them the projection?

Hannah Moore:
We did it in the next meeting, but not this meeting. By showing them their projection, I just pulled out this-

Reese Harper:
Okay, what did that do?

Hannah Moore:
They barely even looked at it.

Reese Harper:
Yeah, exactly. Okay. When do they matter? Projections matter, they do matter. For the advisor, I feel like they’re essential. I feel like the advisor, like it’s really valuable for the advisor to have a projection. I feel like, in my own firm, half the time they get done, no one wants to show it to the client because it’s like, it’s a little depressing or a little disconcerting, and so instead, I just think it’s a beautiful example of what you did. You just said, okay, I have a tool, the tool doesn’t control me. I’m not going to have to feel like this is the deliverable. I’m going to find a way to make this more human, and you did that. That’s beautiful. And maybe you flashed something if they asked for it. But of course, they feel like there’s a shortfall. You’re telling them what their income is and their social security is, and there’s a shortfall. It’s not like magic.

Hannah Moore:
A thing you grab that just goes straight [crosstalk 00:32:48].

Reese Harper:
Yeah. We don’t need to be like, look at this graph. It’s actually so depressing. All I’m saying is, in all the research I’ve done, those graphs are incredibly, it’s almost like shame and guilt. You got to be careful about shame here.

Hannah Moore:
Shame is huge in what we do.

Reese Harper:
It’s like a big deal. Everyone already comes to you feeling like idiots with their money. No one feel … Even the richest people, there’s very few people that are rich enough to have no shame. Now, there are some people that, no matter what their level of wealth is, they have a lot of confidence, but most people feel like some shame, some guilt. So, I’m like, okay, I just liked the idea of trying to minimize the guilt and shame because there’s … People find happiness in the present. They found happiness in the meetings with you. They found happiness in the interactions. They found joy and some measure of progress and hope, knowing that they had some kind of experience where they prioritized money, and some goals, and maybe some practical things to really start to work on.

Reese Harper:
You have to be careful when you use technology that it doesn’t shame, and that it doesn’t create guilt. Because I feel like there’s something about retirement. If we put that in front of somebody every time, what if there is a future that isn’t very easy for someone to stop working. I don’t know, I know this doesn’t apply to the whole market, and we are talking a little bit about the non traditional client here, but I …

Hannah Moore:
But she replies to everybody. I don’t care who it is. She replies to absolutely everybody. You look at this, so John and Diana came in with $400,000. That’s a hell of a lot of money for a lot of people. For them to come in, this is their life savings. For me to come into this meeting and be like, well, you don’t have enough.

Reese Harper:
It’s inadequate.

Hannah Moore:
How dare I.

Reese Harper:
Do you know what happen in their life? You have no idea.

Hannah Moore:
We have this mentality, and again, it’s going back to that, we see, we don’t see the people sitting across the table from us. as financial planners, we have to be so careful about how we’re showing up with our clients. Are we showing up with this expectation that they have a million dollars and that coming in a $400,000 is less than, that they are not good enough? Money is the easiest measure of success, right? That’s why it’s so easy. You hit 65. How much money do you have in your bank account? That is oftentimes a measure of success. And it’s like, no, no, no, no, no, no. We can’t measure so many other things that happened in their life.

Hannah Moore:
That’s what’s important. Right? That’s a piece that I think we forget oftentimes, and that’s where we can bring shame into this. There’s so much more to people’s stories, and how we view our clients, I would argue is one of the most important pieces of what it means to be a financial planner of, are we viewing our clients with unconditional positive regard. I love that idea. Are we viewing them as the credit card debt that they had. Are we viewing that as, oh my gosh, I can’t believe they got themselves in trouble again. Or are we viewing them with, oh my gosh, they made this hard situation work.

Hannah Moore:
They took care of their family in an incredibly difficult situation. Or they dug themselves in a hole, and look at the steps that they’re doing to get themselves out of it. That is going to change how you show up, it’s going to change how your … Your clients are gonna immediately sense it. But it’s really [crosstalk 00:36:09] that we’re one of them.

Reese Harper:
Yeah. That’s what I was saying earlier about progress. To me, wealth levels, they’re relative, so I prefer to look at wealth just by an accurate view of someone’s net worth. Whatever their net worth is, and then divide that by what they spend. That kind of tells me, if it’s like a high number, it’s like a 30 or a 35, that’s pretty wealthy. They have 30 years worth of net worth piled up, they’re going to be fine. We don’t need to celebrate that, like in any kind of like dramatic way and we don’t need to say it’s not enough and your other friends have more.

Reese Harper:
If someone has like a five or a seven or a 10 or a 15, we just know, as we go into these conversations, that there’s different options that we have available to us to talk about. I usually talk to clients in kind of just practical ways about wealth level, as opposed to being like, it’s all a destination and it’s all about retirement, and will you be able to quit and not do anything? Because even for a wealthy person, that’s actually not that motivating to them during their accumulation period. They’re still motivated by the same things that Jim and Diane were motivated by, which is progress.

Reese Harper:
What are we doing to be with … You give the example of the family and take a vacation and kind of being centered and present. It’s like, everyone wants to live better now and feel less guilt and shame. They want less guilt and shame about it, but we have to protect people sometimes from being imbalanced, maybe in consuming too much. Some people are just naturally going to have income levels and growth rates that are going to take them to a very wealthy place, even if we don’t show up, that’ll happen a lot of times.

Reese Harper:
But I just think it’s important to not let the retirement anchor or the forecast be the center of any shaming, because you can find really positive interactions with people who never reach wealth levels that some of your highest net worth clients might. That’s my view.

Hannah Moore:
Yeah. With John and Diana, one of the big decision points throughout this whole process was remodeling their home. Right. It was remodeling their home. I will tell you, in the externship, there was lots of conversations around this of like, this is a terrible idea. They can’t afford it, and all these pieces. But really, but when you think about it, they’re just like, they should be saving this money for retirement. They shouldn’t be remodeling their home.

Reese Harper:
If wealth maximization is the goal, right?

Hannah Moore:
Exactly. In looking at the values, what were the values that they had? This absolutely reflected the values of John and Diana.

Reese Harper:
The remodel did?

Hannah Moore:
Yes. Absolutely.

Reese Harper:
What were their values?

Hannah Moore:
Oh man, I can’t [crosstalk 00:39:19].

Reese Harper:
I mean, did they say family? Did they say presence? Did they say …

Hannah Moore:
Yeah, family. One thing for Diana was, she’s just like, I’ve been so used to my entire life that I just buy something that’s the cheapest, but it’s not value. She gave the example of a toaster. She’s like, “I went,” and she’s like, “you might think this is crazy, I bought $100 toaster.” She’s like, “But every morning I wake up and I’m so grateful for that toaster because it cooks my toast perfectly, and I am so happy that I spent $100 on that toaster because it brings me so much joy every single morning.” She said, “At this point in my life, I want to buy something that I’m going to buy one off, and I’m going to have it for the rest of my life because I love it.” We did this whole thing, this whole remodel.

Hannah Moore:
If you’re in the externship, if you watched these videos you’ll know. The remodel was stunning. Oh my God, the remodel [crosstalk 00:40:12].

Reese Harper:
They were stoked. Yeah.

Hannah Moore:
Oh my gosh, it was amazing. So, when we look at this, did they optimize their finances? No, but they optimize our life. We’re the experts on the money, right? That’s what we’re bringing to the table. They’re the experts on their life. Now, they talk about … I mean, they brought it up in this live session we did with them. Again, it’s available if you’re interested in watching it. But they talked about how the remodel … They’re like, we know that we should have been saving that money for investments. They’re like, but we are so happy every single day. Every single day we wake up and we can’t believe that this is our home that we get to live in. As like, that is absolutely worth it for them.

Hannah Moore:
And they’re going to have to make sacrifices in retirement, but this is really a money decision that was aligned with their life. If you saw the differences, and we actually showed the before and after on these videos, anybody who saw it, you’d be like, oh my gosh, of course they made the right decision, but it wasn’t the textbook answer because it was more aligned with what was their values versus what the textbook answers would say of maximizing retirement income. It’s again, when we bring the shame and we’re bringing our judgments, I’m taking my values of, I want a fully funded retirement and putting that onto them. That’s not what we do as financial planners.

Reese Harper:
Well, dude, yeah. Think about all the other options. Okay. This is what I would do if … I don’t do this all the time, because my heart is like, with this market, but the market demand comes from people that have a lot of resources. So, that’s who’s banging down all of our doors, but I do have a charitable part of my life and in my software business, that’s a big focus for a lot of our advisors, is how are we going to try to get down market with people like Jim and Diane? What I think it’d be interesting, I’ve tried this a few times, if you tell Jim and Diane, yes, you can have the remodel, and yes, you can buy the toaster, and yes, your spending can still be eight grand a month, but both of you need to work for 10 hours a week at your favorite retail store to work at in order to supplement the shortfall.

Reese Harper:
It’s your call. Which one of those two things do you care about? That’s one option. You don’t have to work. You don’t have to. But that would be a way to … What I found is a lot of people are like, oh yeah, I’ll just totally get a job. I’m like, well, dude, we don’t need to present the option of like you can’t then if there are options. There are also other options. You could like eventually sell the house in 10 years and then downsize to something smaller and then rent out a little apartment in … I mean, you probably thought of a ton of stuff and brought it all up.

Hannah Moore:
This is what’s so great about this is that it’s not about what I think, it’s about what the client thinks.

Reese Harper:
What do they want?

Hannah Moore:
Right. What do they want? We think about, you said this, like the guide, my firm is Guiding Wealth. I’m fully about that.

Reese Harper:
Oh yeah, that’s cool.

Hannah Moore:
It’s this idea of like, with John and Diana, it was more of saying, okay, awesome. With this remodel, how will that impact everything else? I was their sounding board to help them think through, okay, if we do this, then what does that mean? And if we did this, what does that mean? Exactly to what you were saying of those options. One of my husband’s favorite things that he … He had a professor who was like the 10 things to live by. One of them is everybody is always working with partial information. As financial planners, we are always working with partial information. I have had clients where I’ve had the come to Jesus conversation with them.

Hannah Moore:
Basically like this, your level of spending right now is not sustainable and your money is going to be running out. They left that meeting and they didn’t respond the way that I wanted them. I mean, not that I have a way that I want them to respond, but they came out of that meeting, and what I … In continuing those conversations, because it’s not just the meeting, what we do is not about just the minutes that they’re going to be [crosstalk 00:44:13]. It’s about afterwards, right?

Reese Harper:
Yeah.

Hannah Moore:
What they hadn’t told me was that they had expected a large inheritance, and they did get that large inheritance within the last year. And you know what? They’re just fine. And they knew that. I had partial information. I was sitting here trying to make these projections, and I had partial information. I had another client just recently, we were doing the intro meeting. This is just from a month ago. They had this goal, they were buying a beach house, and no matter what I said, they’re buying a beach house. So, we’re looking at all these different options for how they’re going to buy this beach house.

Hannah Moore:
All of them are just … They’re just kind of there. They just need like a little bit more. At the end of the meeting, I was like, the very end of the meeting, she lets in that, yeah, it’s possible that she’s going to be buying this business and there’s going to be this whole other source of income coming in later. She’s like, but I don’t want to plan for any of that. I don’t want to plan for any of that, because … So, we did it put that in the plan, but it said, outside information. And she shared that with me. Every single person, every single plan that I do, it brings such a humility to what I do as a financial planner.

Hannah Moore:
I do not have the answers for my clients. I do not have those answers. And there’s always going to be information that I don’t have. There’s information my clients don’t have right about their lives. We’re all operating on incomplete information, and that brings a humility, but I think that also brings a way of working with our clients that is vastly better for them, that I would argue translates between every demographic and every income level, and I would say that that is really the core skill of what it means to be a financial planner versus just the technical knowledge.

Reese Harper:
Well, Hannah, it’s been awesome. We’ve been able to get like a wealth of perspective from you and you’ve got such a fun balance of working in your practice, but also helping the FPA. I’m excited for people to check out the externship next year, and I’m sure it will be another great one.

Hannah Moore:
Check Amplified Planning course. So, if you’re looking for experience hours, we are approved by the CFP board to give you experience hours over there, so check us out.

Reese Harper:
Awesome. Well, thanks so much for all your hard work and trying to innovate and be such a warm kind of open source of knowledge, and look forward to having you back on again soon, okay?

Hannah Moore:
Awesome. Thanks so much, Reese.

Abby Morton:
Next time on Elementality.

Reese Harper:
It came from Money Guide Pro and eMoney in the 2000s fighting over this space in the market. One was saying, we’re the goal-based company, and one’s saying, we’re the cashflow-based company. Then the cashflow based company, eMoney gets-

Chad Jardine:
And the advisors separate into Catholics and Protestants and we marked down-

Reese Harper:
Yeah. Then some people, both of the platforms, have to create the way to solve the problem that the other one solved. Because advisors aren’t even, and you’re going well, it’d be nice if we could do some simple goal-based planning that wasn’t as complicated. Then people on Money Guide Pro are going well, it’d be nice if we could do some cashflow modeling. It’s a little more detail oriented. So, they started coming up with their own version of Monte Carlo simulations.

Abby Morton:
You can learn more about the Elements Financial Planning system at getelements.com/meet and schedule a time to speak with one of our friendly financial planning experts. Elementality’s executive creators are Reese Harper and Chad Jardine. Elementality is produced by Abby Morton and directed by Jordan Haynes. Have a good one.

 

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