In "When Life Changes, Plans Must Follow," Ross Levin asks: "In an uncertain world, how do we help make clients’ lives as rich as they wish it to be, help them feel secure with change and connect them with their money so that their decisions are personal rather than positional? If this is the question, then what does our wealth management playbook look like?"
We at the Sudden Money® Institute can tell you what it looks like, because we created the playbook for moving clients through major life events years ago. We began studying the human dynamics of financial change in 2000, shortly after I finished writing Sudden Money: Managing a Financial Windfall (Wiley). We had to go outside of our industry to learn about what happens when people experience life-altering change. We looked to experts in psychology, neuroscience, sociology, and adaptive leadership to inform the creation of our tools and protocols for vital, yet neglected (or underserved) areas such as:
- Communication, with the preferences of the client leading the way.
- Creating a safe space.
- Deep Listening.
- Mindset Interventions.
- Cultivating a transformative relationship to stress.
- Having meaningful and difficult conversations.
- Managing Expectations.
- Decision-making (using the Decision Free Zone™)
- Improving well-being.
- Dealing with uncertainty.
- The power of gratitude.
- Establishing daily practices that allow a new way of being to emerge for the advisor.
Regardless of the event that is the origin of a client's life transition, no one knows exactly how the narrative will continue or end. However, there is a fundamental structure to transitions and there are certain predictable elements.
During the four stages, there are patterns of struggles to be worked through. And there is also flow to be enhanced.
When an advisor has been trained in what to expect during times of transition and how to skillfully respond to the unexpected, outcomes include richer, more satisfying relationships with clients. From those relationship spring life plans co-created to meet the clients' highest intentions and deepest values.