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Into the Lumiverse Episode 3

What does wealth mean to you?

In this episode, Lumiant's Mark Akeroyd is joined by his co-hosts Dennis Moseley-Williams and Tom Frisby, from Serious Shift, to discuss Charles Schwab's Modern Wealth Survey 2023.


The trio focus on the fact the report clearly indicates our definition of "wealthy" has changed. No longer is it the balance in our accounts. When describing wealth in their own words, more Americans referenced wellbeing over money and assets!

Charles Schwab Modern Wealth Survey: When describing wealth in their own words, more Americans reference well-being over money and assets

But, as Tom rightly points out in this episode, we've all known this for quite some time. This serious shift isn't new and there have been plenty of studies pointing to the fact people are seeking greater fulfillment in their lives. And even more, saying how we're looking to invest in experiences over owning nice things.

Charles Schwab Modern Wealth Survey: Americans generally choose non-financial assets when asked to choose which better describes wealth

So what can we do about it? Here are some quick tips from the episode:


Define wealth

Work with your clients to define what wealth means to them. Accumulation without context or purpose will not engage clients and will leave them feeling pretty empty. And if everything else has been commoditized - the planning, the investment management and the things that are delivered around that - then their definition of wealth is really the next frontier for financial advice.


Dennis puts it this way: let's imagine it's your children.


One of your children says to you “I want to be rich."


Your first reaction would be “Oh good." And then you'd ask, "What does that mean?"


And you'd be holding yourself back because you know you want to get to the point. And the point is it's not about money. It's about the relationships and experiences that matter: the relationship between mother and father. The bike rides. The six o'clock dinner.


That's wealth, that's love, that's what matters.


My question to everyone who's watched, listened or read this article is: if you know that's true how are you helping your clients address those issues they might feel need attention? How are you helping them become "healthy, wealthy and wise."


Be an advocate for life not just retirement

Branch out from just defining the end-game. The end number in retirement. And start to have a dialogue with your clients about life.


As Tom puts it, a dialogue is an ongoing conversation to establish common meaning and understanding. It's a process, not an event, and happens over time.


As an advisor, you don't need to know all the answers. You just need to be able to guide clients on an ongoing basis to help them discover what they already know and advocate for them to take action on it.


If you focus only on retirement and investments, that will be the point of definition when clients work with an advisor. What their investment number is and making it go up.


But as we can see from the data, there are more races to be run than hitting the magic retirement figure. And it's up to you to help clients define what those races are for them. Not their neighbours. Not their best friends. Not what the media tells them they should be doing. But defining what races they want to run and when.


I love the way Mark puts it: If the only game is money going up, you wouldn't do all the things that are so beautiful in life. No one's wealth goes up when Partner A takes time off to have child number one, right? And if the only race there is money goes up, then you can't have a child and you miss out on that experience.


So the whole point here is, as an advisor, your job is to help create that clarity of what the race looks like for the client.


If you're looking to be an advocate for life, here are two questions from Tom that you can ask your clients to get the ball rolling:

  • Now we have a financial plan in place to help you achieve your goals - what's next?

  • You've come to see me today to strengthen your financial position, but could you tell me what it's all for?

Once you know the answers, you can start asking them what we're going to do about it now and work on a framework to support them in achieving their aspirational outcomes versus the traditional goal-based outcomes the plan is looking after.


Want to hear more? Watch the full episode at the top of this article. And if you have any questions that you ask clients to help them define wealth, let us and our community know in the comments below so we can help more people live their best lives!

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