If I Could Hire The Perfect Planner

Benjamin Haas |

When I started my business 10-years ago on April 26th, 2013, I had strong feelings on what was important to me. The list included having the freedom to make product and services choices I thought were best for my clients and to grow the business as I saw fit. It also included fancy office space (originally in Center Valley, PA). Wow, a lot has changed in 10 years! As I reflect on what was important then, it strikes me how different I feel 10 years later. Sure, product choices and planning software are still important, but is that really what makes us different? Is our office space why you work with us? Is that why I would hire someone? Hardly.

As I thought about this, I was inspired by a fellow advisor named Natalie Taylor. Her own reflection on her business took the form of considering “what the ideal financial planner looks like” – as I read her list, I said to myself, “YES! That’s who I want to be!!” So, in the same way Natalie shared her vision and through the lens of my 10-year anniversary, I’d like to REINTRODUCE the Haas Financial Group, by sharing my hopes for who I would want to hire as a financial planner.

As a planner, I would want to hire someone:

  1. Who has a process – to be sure we answer the questions that are important to me, but also check the boxes on the things I don’t often think about, that might otherwise slip through the cracks
  2. Who has experience – whatever it is that I’m going through in life, I want someone who has been through it before and will guide me with wisdom and empathy when my life twists and turns
  3. Who has fee transparency – I want to know what I’m paying for, without surprises, and want to be assured (by law) that I’m not being sold something that isn’t right for me. I want the fees I pay to feel like we are in partnership, not in a tug of war match.
  4. Separates financial planning and asset management services - and lets me decide what services are best for me and my needs
  5. Who values accountability and putting plans into action. Someone who is truthful with me about not only what I need to get done, but shows me how to do it (or better yet, does it for me).

As a person, I want to hire someone:

  1. Who understands my core values - and uses them to inform our work together when giving me advice, especially when I feel stuck with competing goals and priorities
  2. Who understands what matters most to me – and does not give me just the same canned advice they give all their clients. Because maybe my goal isn’t to try be ultra-wealthy like some others, but instead is to find more time to enjoy my life (whatever that means to me).
  3. Who meets me where I am – life is so busy for me! Sometimes I need dedicated meeting time together but sometimes I can only handle a text message. Having access to information and tools on my own time is helpful.
  4. Who simplifies tasks for me – I’m smart, but I may not be money-wise. I have anxiety about money so I need enough education to feel comfortable, in words and concepts I can understand, without having too much information that I get overwhelmed
  5. Who provides a judgment free zone – I’m sometimes slow to respond. I might email something last minute, and I often need help getting things done. I know I’m not the perfect client so I appreciate having someone in my corner who doesn’t make me feel guilty, but is supportive and always treats me with respect.

That’s what I would want for myself. So that’s who I’m going to strive to be for my clients in my next 10 years.

Investment Advice offered through Great Valley Advisor Group, a Registered Investment Advisor. Great Valley Advisor Group and Haas Financial Group are separate entities. This is not intended to be used as tax or legal advice. Please consult a tax or legal professional for specific information and advice.

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