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Simplify taxable options and dress for success
Simplify taxable options and dress for success

Sep 01 2023 / Round the Table Magazine

Simplify taxable options and dress for success

Simplify the three types of taxable investments and dress to make your clients comfortable.

By From the MDRT Blog

Topics Covered

Guiding clients to yes

By Alan C. Kifer, CFP, LUTCF

Prospects and clients often don’t understand the value financial advisors can offer them. They get overwhelmed and confused by charts, numbers and the myriad financial choices. Part of our job, though, is to make it all relatable for them.

One of my favorite ideas for simply explaining to clients how I can help them is to tell them, “I can help you earn from 4% to 5%. Would you like to earn it as taxable, tax-deferred or tax-free?”

Then I’ll say, “Here’s what I mean by that. There only are three types of taxable environments: taxable now, tax-deferred (which means taxable later) or tax-free forever.” While they may not necessarily understand all the options, no client has ever asked to pay more taxes on their assets. Instead, they typically say something along the lines of, “I’d like to do the tax-free thing.”

And I love that answer. Now, I have permission to help them look at life insurance, annuities, Roth accounts, tax-free bonds and so forth. So, see what happens when you tell clients, “I can get you 4% to 5% on your investments. I just need to know how you want to receive it: taxable, tax-deferred or tax-free.”

Dress for success to elevate client relationships

By Antoinette Tuscano 

Ensuring a client’s comfort level when they’re with you means far more than offering them a beverage or asking about their family. Those gestures should be done automatically as a normal level of service. MDRT members, however, strive to go beyond. To do that, consider mirroring clients’ preferences, including how they dress when they meet you or who they will feel most comfortable with when you refer them to attorneys or accountants. 

“If you’re seeing a wealthy farming client, don’t show up overdressed,” said 22-year MDRT member Micheline Varas, RHU, of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. She also asks her clients for their opinion of other professionals and their preferences for firms they want to engage with. For example, would they like a large firm with a recognizable name that comes at a premium cost, or do they prefer a more affordable option? In other words, “Do you want to pay for the marble?” Varas asks clients. “That should be their decision, and in asking, an advisor is respectful of their clients’ wants, needs and level of trust and comfort.”

Jeannine Resteiner-Citoli, a 20-year MDRT member from Bellevue, Washington, USA, works with many young, high-net-worth clients from the tech industry, where there is less formality in the work environment. To mirror her clients’ level of formality — or informality — when dressing, she looks at the appointments coming in for the next day to determine what to wear.

“You need to be able to gauge and adapt over time with the client you’re sitting with,” said Robert J. Hack, a 15-year MDRT member from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

How a client dresses or their low-key approach is not always an indication of their income. “It can be harder to tell with the younger generation of high-net-worth individuals, especially if they have certain causes that they believe in, such as environmentalism or anti-consumerism,” said five-year MDRT member Joyce Chan, of Singapore. For example, she has a high-net-worth client who, despite having several rental properties, drives an average car and doesn’t wear expensive clothes.

Your clients’ style and preferences may not be tied to their income level. Instead, notice how your clients present themselves, so you can be more relatable to them and adapt to their comfort level.

Members and experts from around the world share how they step up their productivity, find inspiration, and balance life and work in the MDRT Blog. Get their insights sent to your email two to three times a week by scanning the QR code to subscribe or visit mdrtblog.org/subscribe.