Registered Rep.: You were once a psychotherapist. What “school” of psychotherapy were you associated with?
Mark Butler: Family therapy. Within that, I liked the Milan school and the Georgetown/Bowen school, both of which key in on intergenerational family dialogue.
RR: Does that training help you manage clients?
MB: Yes. It's the communications piece. Money and emotions go together hand in glove. And bringing touchy topics to the fore — you know, a spouse's separate property, out of control spending, wealth-transfer issues — is important in financial planning. In fact, that's my job.
RR: We're imagining your client meetings as shrink-like sessions, where you help clients tackle their money “issues.”
MB: Not really. I'm not a big “issues” or “let's-talk-about-your-money neurosis” kind of guy. Experience tells me that if you consistently put good information in front of clients — what they have and how they're using it — that goes a long way toward folks addressing the touchy-feely stuff themselves. Or, at least, copping to the reality that they're on an unsustainable road.
But, I have written a book on the five things that clients need to understand about themselves — their “inner work” — before they even hire an advisor. I wrote the book because it's not appropriate, from my perspective, for advisors to get into a heavy “process” relationship with clients.
RR: You have a Web site that marries rock and roll with finance, financialrocknroll.org, with the tag line, “Money & Music, What Could Be Better?” What the?! Why?
MB: Let's face it: Personal finance articles are dreadfully boring to most folks. I felt like an “alt” approach could not hurt. It's inviting. Easy. Right-brain. Folks don't want to be pitched to. But I definitely want them to know I'm around.
Short-term, the payoff is that my local centers-of-influence think the site is a hoot. We've had a couple of rock'n roll parties at the house, followed by an outing to see music in town. It's a “spread the love” thing. It's all very Boulder!
Besides, who doesn't love music?