By Alexandria Cole-Davis
At the end of March, a financial planner had their annual client meeting with one of their valued clients. This client, an essential worker who is a manager of an emergency room at a local hospital, was tired during the afternoon meeting.
The planner kept the meeting short and just had a comforting talk about the client’s long days. Based on this meeting, the financial planner and their firm adopted new non-traditional business hours for their clients, who were essential workers that still need financial planning. These new hours would help avoid the firm from interfering with work obligations and family time.
All around the country, firms and employees are taking things to the next level to provide value that doesn’t have anything to do with financial recommendations. Below is a list of the top five activities that firms are participating in to support their clients and their communities.
1) Essential Item Baskets: A firm is using their resources and putting together an essential item basket for your elderly and vulnerable clients. Making simple baskets of essential items like toiletries, healthy snacks, or tiny plants (like a small succulent) could go a long way to make your clients feel valued. If the office has more resources to give, also include rubber gloves or homemade masks, which are especially important for this population.
2) Personal Letters and Pen Pal Systems: We are used to sending a quarterly or monthly financial newsletter, but one firm is taking a more personal approach by sending thoughtful personalized notes in colorful envelopes to clients to spread good news and warm messages.
Depending on the number of people who work in the firm, this is also a great way for employees or junior associates who don’t get much one-on-one time with clients to become a pen pal with a client who would appreciate having additional connection.
3) Grocery Store Delivery Service for Clients: I have heard from a couple of NexGen planners who have been offering a grocery pickup or drop-off service for their elderly clients. This is extremely beneficial to protect your vulnerable clients from having to be around large groups of people at the local grocery stores.
4) Family-Oriented Games: This unique and fun idea for your clients also includes their kids. Purchase one or two board games for the age group of your clients’ kids and drop the games off at the clients’ doorstep—like a secret Santa gift for the kids. So many kids are home with parents and might need new entertainment.
Good ideas include UNO cards, Taboo, or Monopoly. New activities for the children help in providing positive energy and family bonding in a time that has created a new normal for many families across the country and world.
5) Support Local Small Business Clients: Some firms typically budget for team outings and fun events throughout the year. This year, some firms and employees have opted to use some of their quarter one and quarter two budgets to help some of their small business clients instead.
Two examples: hire a gym owner or personal trainer to provide a fitness workout once a week for the team or clients; hire a nutritionist to provide healthy eating tips during these long quarantine days. Using Zoom and other video conferencing systems have found their way into several homes.
Small business owners have been able to provide different and interesting topics for employees and clients using video conferencing, which has been a huge help for small businesses who have had to close their doors during this time. If the small business owners happen to be clients too, what a great way to help support them during this time.
Spreading value comes in many ways. Your firm can forge more community-based relationships by adopting one or two new ways to connect with clients while giving back to those in need.
If you want more insight and ideas for your firm, make sure to tune into “You’re a Financial Planner, Now What” podcast during the month of June to hear from several firms and financial planners that are already giving back to their communities in a major way.
If you or your firm are giving back in a unique way, make sure to leave a comment below to share your idea with us.
Born and raised in Sacramento, Calif. Alexandria attended California State University- Sacramento where she received a degree in economics. She is currently starting a new role with Facet Wealth as a business development associate. She also founded her own tax business this year called BeyondTax. Alexandria is very interested in media and hosts the monthly podcast “You’re A Financial Planner, Now What?” Outside of work, Alexandria loves visiting unique coffee shops with her husband, working out, spending time with family and playing board games.
FPA NexGen, a community of the Financial Planning Association® (FPA®), aims to provide support and collaboration for those professionals new to the financial planning profession. With more than 2,500 like-minded young professionals, members of FPA NexGen are ready to share their experiences and further the future of the financial planning profession. Learn more about our engaged community and join the conversation on Twitter.
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