Category: Health & Fitness

Alternative Advice

July 26th, 2018 by

According to Investopedia, an alternative asset is any non-traditional asset with potential economic value that would not be found in a standard investment portfolio.


This column uses alternative investing as a springboard to explore how alternative client conversations and advice can help distinguish your client value promise from your competitors to increase client loyalty and grow your business. What is alternative advice? Alternative Advice is advice outside of what is considered to be the traditional domain of financial planning or wealth management: tax, money management, estate planning, and insurance.


You will discover 3 aspects of alternative advice: Financial Organization, Identity Theft, and Health.


When is it appropriate to give your clients “alternative” advice? Any time it would be valuable or helpful for them.


Financial organization is the process where you get ALL of your financial documents and data organized and simplified. What would your life be like if all of your account numbers, user IDs, passwords, and security questions for every bank account, credit card, insurance policy, investment account, reward program, passport, driver’s license, computer, tablet, phone, and cell service…virtually everything with a statement and online access…was completely and fully up-to-date and organized? If something happens to you, how easy will it be for your spouse or children to open your computer and find all the docs and access details necessary to keep your life working or transition your financial affairs in the worst-case-scenario? Obviously, getting this done even with a power of attorney would be a nightmare. Where is the password for your computer and the code to open your tablet and mobile phone? Who knows that besides you? Wouldn’t it be amazing to be this financially organized? If financial professionals aren’t this organized, imagine the state of the general population. Even the most financially successful people who pay tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars per year for financial advice are not very financially organized.


On a scale of 1 – 10, one being a total disaster and ten being a perfect example for the world to follow, when it comes to being financially organized, most of the financially successful people I ask say they are at a level five or below. In fact, not a single person I’ve asked has said they are higher than seven. When asked if they would like to be a 10, they always enthusiastically say, “yes!” They often tell me that getting financially organized is a project they’ve been meaning to get to… for many years. Sadly, their financial planners, wealth managers, accountants or any other advisor has never mentioned it or offered to help.


This is the kind of alternative advice and help that elevates your client value and can move the needle on the trust dial in the right direction. Yes, you can charge for getting clients financially organized. And, yes, you can charge annually to “audit” their financial organization and bring everything current. Recurring revenue is not just for AUM. In a world where compensation for financial products and investment management continue to decline, perhaps the next generation of financial professional will be the financial organizer.


Our industry tends to focus an inordinate amount of energy on what can’t be controlled: the market, the economy, politics, and world events. Instead of wasting time having a client conversation about Trump’s latest tweet, have the alternative conversation about financial organization.


The financial organization conversation leads very naturally to the alternative client conversation about identify theft. Do you know anyone who has had their identity stolen? If you do, then you know what a nightmare it is. What do your clients do with all of those paper and digital statements? Where do they store them? Are they secure? How can you help? How valuable would it be for your client to have the maximum identity theft security?


Do all of your clients have a fireproof safe in their home? What’s supposed to go in that safe? How do you know if what’s supposed to be in the safe is actually in the safe? Where is the combination? Where are the back-up documents for everything that’s in the safe? What should be in a safe deposit box instead of the home safe? What documents can be held only electronically and the paper shredded and future paper statements discontinued? Where are their paper account statements? All too often, in an unlocked filing cabinet or desk drawer where the housekeeper, handyman, babysitter, or any other worker has easy access. What kind of shredder do they have and do they use it? I’ve been in a friend’s home office where a stack of sensitive documents is piled next to the shredder in plain sight. When I ask when they will be shredded, their “process” is to shred every week or so. In the meantime, that pile is identity theft nirvana. Are all shredders created equal? Nope. Do you know which shredders do the job and which delight identity thieves? Why not just give every client the best shredder with instructions for use? It’s not a gift like a bottle of wine, it’s a deliverable.


If a fire or other disaster is threatening their home and evacuation is necessary, what physical documents should be taken? That’s a trick question because the answer is NOTHING. All any family should have to worry about is themselves, their family members, their pets, and whatever personal memorabilia they can carry as they evacuate. Why? Because the few original physical documents are protected in the safe or safe deposit box and all digital documents are secure, encrypted, and backed up. Even if they can’t grab their laptop, they’re covered. Or should be, shouldn’t they?


For more information to help you help your clients, check out


What would happen to the quality of your client relationships if you had the alternative client conversation about identity theft and provided this service?


Many financially successful people feel that having money helps them maximize quality of life while they are healthy and provides the money to pay for things that improve their health that health insurance doesn’t cover.  It’s often said about money, “it’s better to have it and not need than to need it and not have it.”


Smart financial advisors work with clients in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and beyond. For the obvious reason that these are the people who have all the money and, therefore, the discretionary funds to pay for financial advice. As we age, we have to work harder to maintain health and fitness. Regular checkups and procedures become more frequent and more hours per week are required to stay fit. More if you’re battling a chronic disease like MS or diabetes or waging war on health challenge that’s trying to kill you.


Here’s a good question to get this alternative conversation started, “How hard are you fighting to maintain a high degree of physical health and fitness?” The older you get the more you understand the term “fighting.” Your clients easily engage and appreciate this conversation.


It’s not a deep dive, but you can use the following basic information to frame the alternative client conversation that their time and energy are better invested in maintaining a high level of health and fitness to enjoy their money, rather than wasting time and energy worrying about how things that can’t be controlled will affect their money. You take care of their money so they can focus on taking care of themselves. This is really good advice and it’s appropriate they hear it from their financial advisor.


The 5 basic areas are: Cardio. Strength. Flexibility. Balance. Nutrition.


  1. Cardio is mostly about heart health. According to the CDC, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. For too many men, the first symptom they have heart disease is death.
  2. Strength is muscle mass and muscle mass begins declining after age 30 without a deliberate program to keep it. Why do you want to be strong?
  3. Flexibility or limberness refers to the range of movement in a joint or series of joints, and length in muscles that cross the joints to induce a bending movement or motion. Who wouldn’t want more of that? Being more flexible doesn’t happen by accident.
  4. It’s not the broken hip that kills people. It’s the hospital stay and the “recovery.” Best to avoid the fall that breaks the hip in the first place. Read this interesting piece in wikipedia about balance:
  5. Nutrition is the science or practice of consuming and utilizing food. You are what you eat it. No truer words ever spoken.


Develop a relationship with the Executive Health program at the best hospital in your town and refer your clients. These programs are typically one or two-day extensive health exams. They have all the latest, greatest data and resources for improving cardio, strength, flexibility, balance, and nutrition. They are usually not covered by insurance, but cost a fraction of what your clients are probably paying you.


For your next client appreciation event, hire a health and fitness expert speaker instead of a money manager or economist. Your turnout will increase, as well as the feedback.


“My financial advisor beat the market.”

“My financial advisor helped me prepare for retirement.”

“Is that all? My financial advisor saved my life.”


Besides referrals and your greater sense of fulfillment, the longer your clients live the better for your business, right? For all the talk about generational wealth transfer, do you really want to work with the children of most of your clients? Have you met their kids? Do you like their kids? Do their kids meet your Ideal Client Profile. Very often the apple fell far from the tree. If they have 3 kids and the money is divided 3 ways, after taxes and after they pay off their debt and the grandkid’s debt, remodel the house, buy a new car, and take a vacation, how much of the original money remains? How much more work will you have to do for less money? If all 3 of the kids stay with you, now you have 3 families to serve. Every advisor I know has horror stories on this subject.


Alternative advice is good for your clients and good for you.


To discover more about how Bill and his team can help you be a more direct and candid communicator who helps clients make better decisions, check out the state-of-the-art AdvisorRoadmap™ Virtual Training at  

What Has Financial Training Done For You?

November 7th, 2014 by

Watch these Financial Advisors share their whole story in the videos to follow.

Learn more about the program at:

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10 Little Things That Can Make a Difference in Your Success

August 5th, 2014 by

Success is the cumulative result of the little things. Here are 10 “little” things that can add up to make a big difference in your success and happiness in business and in life.

1. Buy a nice pen. Invest at least $100. I’m not saying it should be a diamond-studded, Donald Trumpian ostentatious piece of bling. Go to a high-end stationery or department store and write with several of its better pens. Buy the one that feels the best in your hand, regardless of the price. Think about all the notes you take when you are with a prospect or client. Wouldn’t it be great to be taking those notes with a high-quality instrument? Think about all of the important things prospects and clients tell you. Aren’t those important comments worth writing down with a high-quality instrument that feels great in your hands and whose ink flows smoothly on to the paper? And what about when you hand your pen to your new client to sign the documents that transfer their life savings to you? Or to sign that big insurance application or their living trust? What message does it send when you hand them an 89 cent piece of crap pen or the freebie you picked up from the fund company at the last conference? “Here you go. Let’s memorialize you hiring me to help you achieve your goals and fulfill your values with this POS.” Maybe it’s not such a little thing. And don’t kid yourself that you’ll lose it. When you invest big money in a nice pen, you keep track of it.

2. Improve your smile. Whitening your teeth is a good first step. I’m not talking about glow-in-the-dark or movie star white. Just white. Ask someone who cares about you enough to tell you the truth whether or not your teeth are yellow, gray or dingy. Crest white strips are inexpensive and easy to use. It matters. Have you ever noticed how you tend to look at another person’s mouth when they speak? What nonverbal message is your mouth sending? And get a good teeth cleaning regularly. Who wants to hire a Financial Adviser with plaque-encrusted teeth? If you can’t take care of your teeth, why should anyone trust you with their money? Appearances aside, less plaque can help prevent heart disease.


How Fitness Impacts your Business

February 10th, 2014 by

by Anne Bachrach, The Accountability Coach

Financial Professionals tend to become all-consumed in their business, allowing their physical fitness fall to the bottom of their priority list.  While a common occurrence, this habit may sabotage the success of your business – and your health.  Being a Financial Professional takes lots of energy, more than many other careers, and being healthy and physically fit is vital to maintaining the valuable source of energy you need to keep up with your business.

If you’re not fit, neither is your business!

Do you understand how fitness impacts your business?  If you’re not fit, neither is your business.  Regardless of how hectic your schedule may be, it’s imperative to the success of both your business and personal health to make time to exercise each and every day.  According to the CDC, adults need an average of 150 minutes of aerobic activity each week in order to experience the health benefits of exercise.  If you’re like most Financial Professionals, your schedule is likely packed to the max, but consider how empty your schedule would be if you were forced to take time off for serious health reasons.

Taking 45 minutes, 3 days a week, to exercise is a small piece of your weekly schedule and should become as large of a priority as eating or breathing.  Your body is counting on you to give it what it gives you every day – vitality.  While it may seem that exercising takes more energy than you’ve got at the moment, you’d be surprised how much additional energy you’d have from exercising.


BAI Academy 2 – Surf Camp

October 11th, 2012 by

Dive in and get wet! Check out our Financial Advisors breaking through their comfort mold and having fun while doing it. View pictures here!

I Had A Bad Bike Ride Saturday… Or Did I?

August 13th, 2012 by

My primary way of staying in shape is cycling and I’m preparing for a trip to the Central Alps to ride some of the epic climbs that are often part of the Tour de France. This past Saturday I experimented with a nutritional supplement that I thought would help me perform better in the heat. It didn’t work. Instead my stomach was wrecked and my energy sapped. I arrived at the regrouping point at the top of the 11-mile Sunrise Highway climb to Mt. Laguna way behind the others. Recognizing that I was having an off-day, one woman commented, “It looks like you are having a character-building ride today, Bill.” That woman, by the way, is Kathleen McCartney Hearst the female champion of the 1982 Hawaii Ironman. She knows about character. The ride was 77 miles with almost 7,000 feet of climbing and I felt like crap most of the way, but I finished. And the seed Kathleen planted about character stuck. As bad as my day had been physically, I felt oddly good about my “performance.” As bad as it was physically, it turned out be good for me mentally.

Similar things happen in business all the time. Prospects say no. Clients can be flakey. Markets don’t cooperate. Some days are better than others. What if instead of thinking of your bad days as just bad days, you thought of them as character-builders that will give you more strength to be successful in the long-run? After all, being a successful Financial Advisor  is a marathon, not a sprint.