Who Is the Lead Parent?

Who Is the Lead Parent?

An easy way to understand your clients’ time constraints

Sara, a financial advisor, has brought in an average of $30 million in new assets a year for the past three years. A mother of three, she’s also the rainmaker at home; her husband is an elementary school teacher. 

“I make a lot more money than my husband, but he’s organizing all the kids’ activities, dropping them off, organizing car pools and all of that,” she says. “So, I guess from that perspective, my husband is the
lead parent.”

I suggested she identify the lead parents among her dual-income clients. This can help her and other advisors better understand their clients’ time constraints and determine how to best service them. 

In an Oct. 9 article in The New York Times, reporter Paul Sullivan writes that time is a prized commodity for these couples. “It’s the time squeeze to be a great partner, professional, be in shape and have a great marriage,” said one affluent mother. “You have to be a pretty ruthless prioritizer.” 

These people don’t have the time or inclination to oversee the increasing complexity of their family’s financial affairs. That’s where an advisor can step in. 

Time-Value Assessment

It’s important that financial advisors be sensitive to each affluent client’s daily routine. A retired surgeon who golfs four days a week and likes to stop by the office to chat and kill some time is far different than a time-squeezed working mother of three. To this end, advisors should create a time-value assessment for each affluent client, to unveil their daily routine. This will help you better manage that particular relationship, on a professional and social level.

Managing affluent client relationships is a personal endeavor. Your challenge is to provide comprehensive wealth management with personalized service, while at the same time continually strengthening the relationship with some form of social interaction. 

Whether it’s attending a soccer game where the lead parent is coaching his daughter’s team or helping ease the time crunch by hand-delivering paperwork to their home, managing these relationships requires creativity and flexibility. By the way, these same time-squeezed affluent clients will take an afternoon off for a social activity
they enjoy.  

Most firms have a recommended client service/contact protocol, but what’s most important is that you do not waste your client’s time by making contact just to have contact. 

Whether they prefer a monthly call or a quarterly review, know your client. For example, the last thing on my priority “to-do” list when I get home from traveling is to have a business meeting with my financial advisor. Even though we’re now empty nesters, my wife Sandy is still the lead parent. So our financial advisor, CPA and attorney always schedule their face time (professional and personal) through Sandy. Know your client. 

Managing the relationships of your affluent clients is complex and highly personal. 

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