You can get the mechanics of a financial plan right, but if you miss the “life” part, you’re shortchanging your clients.
A financial plan is a tool to help your clients live a happier, more fulfilling life. Consumers can easily get their money managed through the big national brands like Vanguard, Schwab, TD Ameritrade, Fidelity, and the Robo Advisors, without your help. A key value an advisor adds is in helping clients create a thoughtful financial plan, and understanding how they can use their money to live their best life possible. But you have to know the kind of life your clients want! That comes from engaging your clients in a robust discovery process like the kind offered by ROL Advisor.
We don’t want our clients to feel like they’re just winning at investing — we want them to feel like their investments are helping them win at life.
My guest today, Lauryn Williams, is a four-time Olympic athlete, three-time Olympic medalist, and the first American woman to win medals in both the Winter and Summer Olympic games. After retiring from her track and field and bobsledding career, Lauryn founded her own advisory firm, Worth Winning, to help other athletes use Life-Centered Planning to transition to happy and fulfilling lives after sports.
10 Insights from Lauryn Williams on Winning in Business and Life:
1. “After a disappointment, it’s important to train yourself to wake up and look at every day as a new day. I implemented the 24-hour pity party rule. I realized, sometimes after a bad race, you get down on yourself, and then the negative impact starts to compound, and you can’t get anything done in your life. You’re just mad at the world. You can’t get in a good practice, because you’re so mad about what happened last week, and you start to live in the past. I just realized how counterproductive that was.”
2. “When I tried to get hired as a financial planner, nobody really saw my bigger vision of who I wanted to be able to serve and why I wanted to serve them. I got lots of, ‘Olympic athletes don’t have money. We don’t serve poor people. We’ve got a million dollar minimum. Young people don’t have money. Athletes are too entitled.’ Then, at the XY Planning Network Conference, I saw 112 other planners that were my age that also wanted to serve our peers, and I realized that there was an infrastructure in place in order to be able to go off and start my own firm.“
3. “I realized that there was a need for financial planning among my peers, millennials, and athletes. But my main focus was athletes, because I never wanted anybody to have to experience what I experienced, as it pertains to trusting someone with your money and asking questions, asking to be educated, and not getting the information that you needed. I felt like, if nothing else, there will be one person in this industry who has integrity, who is going to do everything they can to find the right answer for an athlete, so that they know that there is somebody that will service them properly. I’ve always been super passionate about being able to serve athletes.”
4. “Financial literacy is super important, and I think it’s the foundation for everything, so we start by building a budget for our clients. If you are a client who wants a comprehensive, long-term relationship, we’re still going to build the budget, and then we’ll move into getting everything else in place as it pertains to comprehensive planning.”
5. “I use an income-based model. That way, pricing is affordable for a person who makes $50,000 or fair for somebody who makes $500,000. Yes, I provide comprehensive planning. I provide student loan analysis as a separate package. I provided budgeting as a package, and we just go from there. I have a chart that I’ve made, based on income, and that’s how I decipher it.”
6. “I reach my target client base by doing lots of speaking engagements, getting in front of groups or teams, hanging out with them as much as possible, instead of just doing a one-off presentation, so that I can build a rapport with athletes. There’s a new group coming in, and I want them to feel like, ‘you’re kind of like my peer.’ Then, it’s a pretty easy on-boarding process. I think the main thing is explaining to them what it is that I do and how it’s different than other financial sales guys that they might have bumped into on previous occasions.”
7. “With my target market being Millennials and athletes, I think it’s really important to be where they are, on social media. Figuring out how to provide value with those quick touches. I’ve started sending out quick tips on Friday, books that I like to read. Supporting other small businesses has been one of the other things that’s been really helpful for me. I do Small Business Saturday, and I highlight someone else’s small business, which makes them, in turn, want to highlight your business on their social media. Then you’re starting to spread out and branch out into more communities that maybe are not directly related to you.”
8. “Find the right answer. Spend as much time as it takes to be able to provide that thing the client is looking for. If you can’t find what it is that the client is looking for, then be honest and open about that, don’t set some sort of standard that is unauthentic.”
9. “Ten years from now, I’d like to still have a business whose brand is integrity, great service, and helping people organize their finances. Sometimes I think you get to a point where you’re growing, and you start bringing on other people, and they seem like they’re in line with your vision and your mission. But no one can embody the integrity that I’ve set forth as a standard for this business, except for me. So I have to figure out if I want to grow outside of myself. I have to figure out a way not to compromise what my vision and my mission are, as it pertains to the service that I want to provide clients.”
10. “The most surprising thing about starting and running my own business is how good it feels when you make a difference.” Sometimes, it’s a small thing. When a client tells me, ‘I have never had a budget in my whole life. You’ve just changed my whole world!’ It’s funny, but here’s somebody with so much genuine excitement about something that is relatively simple. We didn’t even get to the complicated stuff yet! It’s really that feeling you get when you make the difference that’s been the most exciting.”
- Worth Winning Visit Lauryn and her team online.
- Connect with Lauryn on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
- “Chasing Grace” Five-time Olympic medalist Sanya Richards-Ross on winning on and off the field.
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Steve Sanduski, CFP®
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