• / Free eNewsletters & Magazine
  • / My Account

Related Content

  1. Videos
  2. Articles
  1. A Tricky Choice: Who Gets Your IRA ?

    IRA expert Ed Slott discusses the pros and cons of leaving an IRA to a spouse, children or grandchildren, a trust, or a charity.

  2. Inherited an IRA ? Don't Fall Into the Tax Trap

    IRA inheritors should touch nothing until they understand the tax consequences, which can be irrevocable, says IRA expert Ed Slott.

  3. Roth Advantage May Be Bigger Than You Thought

    Even if your tax bracket doesn't change, using a Roth can mean 20% or more aftertax income in retirement versus a Traditional IRA , says T. Rowe Price senior financial planner Christine Fahlund.

  4. How to Make the Most of Your 401(k)

    In this special presentation, get the answers to key questions about the quality of your plan, whether your savings are on track with your goals, how to allocate assets, and what to do with assets when you leave your job.

'No, Like This...'

When a simple drawing becomes a key tool to help clients understand complex information.

Carl Richards, 04/01/2015

Earlier this year, an advisor shared a story with me that sounded really familiar. Recently, he met with a client to discuss the plans for her upcoming retirement. Of course, he’d prepared a detailed, 60-page document and walked her through it, page by page. She seemed to understand the plan, but at different moments, the advisor noticed a blank look. What he was saying wasn’t making sense to the client.

I know you’ve been there, too. You’re in a meeting, trying to explain something incredibly important. You’re doing your best to make the information clear and avoid industry jargon, but all you get back are blank stares. Given the importance of the decisions we’re trying to make, we clearly have to do something different.

Light Bulb Goes On
In this case, the advisor grabbed a blank piece of paper and started drawing. Now, because he knew every detail of the plan, he was able to quickly and easily sketch out what her plan looked like. As he did, the light bulb went on, and the client asked to take the paper home with her. The plan finally made sense when she saw it visualized.

Surprised, the advisor offered to draw up a better version, but the client insisted she was happy with the rough sketch. He commented that it was the first time he drew a concept for a client, but in his words, he’d be “hard-pressed to not use it again.” But let’s be clear. Drawing wasn’t a shortcut.

He’d done the research and understood the client’s plan. The sketch worked for two reasons: 1) it demonstrated the advisor’s mastery of the material, and 2) it visually connected all the dots for his client. She left the meeting informed and happy.

Every time I tell a story like this advisor’s, the immediate response tends to be, “I can’t draw.” On top of feeling like they can’t draw, financial professionals at all levels hesitate to try it because drawing feels risky. We’re attempting to do art with everyone watching.

Try It Once
But I beg everyone to try it just once. Walk up to the whiteboard or grab a piece of paper and say, “No, like this....” as you start sketching out your ideas. You’ll be blown away at how people respond when you turn your ideas into simple drawings. What may feel amateurish to you appears approachable to everyone else. Plus, you’re demonstrating total command of the material.

The author is a freelance contributor to MorningstarAdvisor.com. The views expressed in this article may or may not reflect the views of Morningstar.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Upcoming Events
Conferences
Webinars

©2014 Morningstar Advisor. All right reserved.