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Cementing Relationships with a Personal Wealth Statement

Containing both a financial and a personal portion, the Personal Wealth Statement can help you identify planning or investment opportunities or concerns.

Helen Modly, 04/14/2011

Have you become complacent with long-term clients? You assume you know them well, but when was the last time you asked them about their current financial and personal information? Show them the love by creating an annual Personal Wealth Statement.

The Personal Wealth Statement
Most of your dealings with your existing clients probably revolve around the investment accounts that you manage for them. Create a Personal Wealth Statement to help them focus on the big picture of their total wealth, and not just today's market returns. This statement combines the typical net worth statement summarizing their financial assets with an update of their personal information.

The Financial Portion
There are many formats available for a net worth statement. Select one and use it as a guide to collect the information. Do not send it to the client to fill in. You want this process to add value to your relationship, and clients hate to fill out forms. The purpose of this exercise is to create a positive client touch, so you need to obtain this information through an interview process, preferably face to face.

You should have quite a bit of information about your clients already in your files, including a copy of their most recent tax return, a copy of their wills and trusts, and other information that you have collected over time. This is a good opportunity to make sure that these documents are up-to-date. Be sure to inventory them before you contact the client so that you are aware of missing information.

The Personal Portion
You will need to create a checklist of the information you want to cover in your interview. Some of the topics could include: hobbies and activities the clients are involved in, estimated retirement date, how and what the children are doing, what pets are in the home, and so forth. Parts of it can be filled in before the call, based on information you already have in your file. This will allow you to ask questions, such as "I notice that your daughter was married last year. Has she given you that grandbaby yet?"

A great client retention tool is to invite your clients to events they like. By identifying their hobbies and interests, you will know if they are good prospects to play golf, take to the theater, or participate in some other activity with you.

You also should be familiar with the important people in your clients' lives. If you know the ages of their children, you can offer to counsel them as they enter the workforce, buy a home, or have children of their own. If your clients' parents are still living, you can demonstrate your knowledge about senior living options, and perhaps have an opportunity to manage the investments of the older generation. Branching out to family members of all ages is a great way to show your concern for your clients.

At this point, you are just collecting information. Your opportunity to develop and make recommendations will follow later.

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