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Meeting You Where You Are

May 24, 2024

Posted in Behavioral

May is mental health awareness month, and we have chosen to focus our articles this month on mental health as it relates to your finances. This is the third blog in a series, starting with “First Money Memories” and how they shape us, and most recently looking at several mindsets that drive financial decisions – our emotional, rational, and wise minds. In this article, we’ll look at how working with a financial planner is a personalized partnership, meeting our clients where they are on their financial journey and addressing their unique relationship to money.

At Johnson Bixby, we understand that there are no two people exactly alike in their financial experiences and how they approach money matters. When clients walk through the door, we see each as a unique individual, respecting who they are and where they are on their financial journey.

What does this look like? Well, it depends! Our goal, as your financial planning partner, is to help you succeed. While we’ve been trained in and follow the guidelines of the Certified Financial Planner™ profession, we know that when it comes right down to it, our approach needs to be tailored to each client based on things such as goals, personality, motivations, financial understanding and position, relationship with money, and readiness to work with a partner.

We step into a variety of roles based on what we believe would be most helpful for you each step along the way. Often, you’ll experience a combination of all these roles in any given interaction with us.

Coach

Your life is your own, but we want to help you succeed! One way we do this is to help you understand what your values are, and where your actions diverge from your values or stated goals.

Sometimes this looks like pushing you forward to take a difficult step, and other times we encourage you to hold back and stay the course when it feels especially challenging. Sometimes the message is – “It’s ok to spend more!” and other times – “This is the time to save!”  We strive to look out for the “current you”, and also the “future you” in our recommendations.

A coach also provides accountability. We touch base on a regular basis to check in and remind you of your next steps, always wanting to know how we can help you move forward toward your goals.

Teacher

When someone wants to learn more about something, they look for an expert in that area. We love to educate while providing answers to your financial questions. One of our favorite measures of success is when clients begin to feel confident and hopeful about their financial decisions.

Even if you are already quite knowledgeable in an area, we understand that sometimes it’s hard to see your situation clearly because you’re too close to it. Decisions are often unknowingly based on habits or biases, and it can be hard to see a different way. It’s at these moments that an outside perspective can be extremely helpful, drawing your attention to information you may already know, but hadn’t yet considered.

Counselor

While many of us may not self-identify as having experienced “financial trauma”, mental health experts indicate that financial hardships and losses can leave a long-lasting impact on the mind. These experiences can be caused by large-scale events such as a global pandemic or economic recession, or smaller personal occurrences such as unemployment, divorce, unexpected costs, or disability. It can also be passed down by generations within families, which can create harmful internalized belief systems.

While our financial planners are not licensed counselors, our offices offer a safe space for you to talk about the very personal subject of money – your financial hopes, fears, stress, confusion, etc. This is invaluable for those who don’t have anyone else to talk with about financial decisions, and also for couples who aren’t sure how to voice where they are to one another.

The role of a Financial Planner has been compared to a Trail Guide, Ship Captain, and Orchestra Conductor, to name a few. These metaphors highlight that our financial life is an on-going journey, requiring the coordination of many things at the same time, presenting both internal and external pitfalls, and can turn out beautifully when guided skillfully and thoughtfully.

No matter what word-picture is used, though, one of the most important pieces that we acknowledge, and practice is the personalization of the guidance with respect to who each client is and what they need. We do this from the very beginning of our relationship with clients (during our complimentary 30-minute conversation with prospective clients) and build on this foundation throughout our partnership. Our desire and dedication to personalized guidance ensures that each client’s unique identity and needs are kept at the forefront, helping create a meaningful and successful journey together.

1 Comment

  1. Marc Anderson

    Excellent article. Thank you.

    Reply

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