21 Questions (Series) – 21. What do you value most in client relationships?

21 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor: 21. What do you value most in client relationships?

This is my last question:

AT MARGIN, client relationships are not an “important thing,” they are the soil in which everything dies or grows. Yes, of course, we have deep technical knowledge. Yes it’s business and results matter, but without trusting each other we are dead, and that’s the key ingredient to get great work done. 

So what do I really value? Knowing our clients beyond the notes, remembering when we planned ahead, empowering clients to get creative, and our clients who care enough to give us feedback to make our firm better.

More than your birthday

Anyone can read notes in customer relationship managment software to remember your birthday, and BS with you, that’s not a relationship. When clients tell me about their life, and offer wisdom about their journey, or share something about marriage, family, or legacy, that’s a relationship. Being able to be real and tell our clients something I know they don’t want to hear, even at the risk of getting fired, to protect them, that’s a relationship.

Getting emotional: Crying with some. Laughing so hard my face hurt with others. Thinking deeply about life during loss. Confiding in a few clients about my insecurities. And at times, asking for life advice when I need wisdom. That’s a great relationship. Vulnerability. Trust. Doing great work.

Most importantly, being there, and having your back when things get tough. Striving to be the first call when things go well, or completely come unglued. Being there.

Remember when

We rarely get thanked in our business in less something goes wrong and a client is prepared: either mentally, financially, or both. Then, we both get to reminisce, and remember years ago when we planned for this to happen.

There are some fun events too. Clients who are scared to retire, finally retire. Terrified of not only losing income but their identity too, and what they would do with there time.

What? I can do that?

Empowering clients, and educating them is also very rewarding for me. I love when clients mention that we are creative, and they never thought of that. Or, they didn’t know to watch out for something.

This stinks, or why don’t you guys?

I love feedback. Sometimes clients just tell me something we do stinks. Or, why not try something else? Many bring ideas to make our practice better. I love that, and always welcome the feedback, even when it stings a little.

Goodbye for now

I hope this 21-part series answers a lot of the questions you have around how to find the right financial advisor.


Not only what questions to ask, but the context, color, and essence behind all the “yes” and “no” responses.