Your opinions on an event wanted!

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Your opinions on an event wanted!
14
Thu, 08-30-2012 - 4:47am

As most of you know, I have altered my career slightly in business to personal/small business financial planning.  I have been on this board for 5 years now, was in financial planning in the 90s but hated the corruption, but now I am back doing what I honestly LOVE it and should have been doing this my entire life.

I find I really enjoy helping women, working women, single women, women who are the key wage earner or financial decision makers in their homes.  I have been able to sit with many and help them see where they are and map out a plan for their future.  My clients are people I care about and respect.

I do not like how many planners "market" to get clients.  I am not comfortable with the "free dinner" or "cold call" or soliciting friends and family.  But I stumbled on something this last week that I really enjoyed and wanted your opinion on.

I took a group of about 5 women to Nordstroms for a presentation from their personal stylist, then lunch.  None of us knew Nordstroms had such a service that can do shopping for you, help you pick out an outfit or just accessories to jazz something up.  They can work on any budget, so this is not just for the wealthy, but can be a real time saver for many of us.  The women were all senior managers or directors, so they had some needs to update a wardrobe, they were not struggling financially, but none had a mega budget and we had fun talking about current styles, age appropriateness, etc.

Then when we went to lunch we talked a bit about finances, their fears, their look toward the future.  It was open and enjoyable.

All of the women really enjoyed the event, and I gave them a small gift card as a token of appreciation for their time, and they all agreed to allow me to email them, or be open to other education events and call if they needed any financial advice.  (I made it clear I would not call to solicit them, the ball is in their court.)  Most said they will call me as they really now understood how I could really help them.  All of them gave me a hug and thanked me for having such an event - it blew me away!

So I wanted your take, would you go to something like this?  How do you now, or how do you think you would find a financial planner?  How would it be comfortable for you to seek/find financial planning assistance?

My goal is to really take care of people in an industry that has a rep of male domination, fear and corruption.  How do you feel you would like to be approached?

 

-Marie

By the way, there are so many times I wish I could give you all advice, but some things are now illegal for me to say on a forum.  It is weird, those of us who are licensed, educated and ethically practicing professionals are policed by our brokers to the point they monitor all we do and say on the internet.  Everything must be approved by the regulatory agencies now, so no one wants to say anything for risk of being slapped.  That means I have to stay anonymous and watch what I say.  Those that have emailed me recently I have done calls with about their budgets.  I can still do Dave Ramsey coaching, as I have disclosed that to my licensing agency, but now all copies of everything must be archived. 

My only other word of advice is that you all should see a planner, don't wait until your 50s or 60s, by then it is very late to help as much as we can.  A good planner can help you with strategic decisions that could save you more than you can imagine.

#Marie

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-09-2002
Sun, 09-16-2012 - 3:26pm

Hi! To answer your questions, I would not attend such an event. but as you have seen some enjoy it. It would be something I would not like, but I also hate baby showers, bridal showers etc., so its not for me. So, for the reasons (I assume you are posting this for market research so here are the details): I know Nordstrom's has this service and I could go on my own if I wanted. I prefer shopping on my own anyway. I would not be comfortable talking finances with a group of women unless they were my friends and most of my closet friends are men. (I have a few wonderful girlfriends too.) This is going to sound cold, but I don't care if a financial planner cares about me as a person as long as they do an outstanding job with the money. I would prefer a business type relationship versus a chatty girls shopping day/lunch etc because that is just my style. My husband and I sometimes ask his good friend for assistance since he is a financial planner. Our tax guy is fantastic in this regard too - he gives us outstanding advice each year when we do our taxes with him . (We own a two family so he has been a huge asset for us!) I can certainly understand the value of someone who helps plan the future, but fortunately, we already have great resources at our disposal. My advice would be to be cautious about pigeon holing yourself when you are marketing your services. There are many different types of women out there. ( I would rather shop for a new pistol than I would a new purse for instance, but I'm girly too so no one would necessarily expect it.)

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-31-2010
Sat, 09-08-2012 - 9:53pm

Thank you all for your replies, it really helped to hear different perspectives.

I do networking groups, educational events and these types of events at different retail locations.  It is all a puzzle, and activity, I never rest, which is why I have not been here as much, but it works.  I have been able to take care of women, which is my passion.

Karen - you have needs you just do not know of, it is not a planners items, it is your goals for that house, yes, your retirement can be that land, what a planner does is to LOOK AT YOUR GOALS AND DREAMS and helps you find issues, flaws that could hurt you in the long run, help protect you from anything that could derail your dreams. 

Bex - Your father deals with wealthy clients, and does well no doubt. He is the poster child of planners - male dealing with high net worth males.  In this world you have to do what is comfortable to you.  Now if I said the group was girls on motorcylcles, bet you would be in?  Again, these are not at all "sales" meetings, I never sell, I just meet, never talk products, actually hardly talk, just listen.  When someone is ready, it is up to then to contact me, and I will give them 100% independent advice for them.  I have no products from a particular firm, so I can do it this way, which is the only way I wanted to do this.  Yes, you know debt can be a good thing, but don't sell yourself short, the source for the retirement income was your hard work, Chicky!  Growth is from being smart enough to ask for help from the best person you know.  SO many think they don't need help, but in the earning years it is too important to go alone if you are not knowledgable.

thanks again all!

 

 

 

#Marie
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Fri, 08-31-2012 - 7:56pm
I like the idea of different "levels" of stores so everyone will have something in their comfort level!

Bex -

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-2001
Fri, 08-31-2012 - 5:25pm

I personally wouldn't be interested in this at this point in my life, because 1) I'm not working so I don't have the money or need for much clothing, and 2) I'm not working so i have the time to do my own shopping.

But . . .

When I was working, I would have certainly enjoyed being included in such an event.  I would have, however, been hard won as an actual paying client right away.  It's just my nature to be cautious.  I think I would have been opened to start building a professional relationship with you thru this type of event, however.

I actually think it's a great idea!

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-14-2008
Fri, 08-31-2012 - 3:06pm

Hi Marie,

I can see how some people would like this and I do think it is a good idea.

I don't think I would though. I am vey private(except for this forum) and I wouln't like to talk about my situation(because it so different) in front of others. I don't have a lot of money to invest but of course you know, as you pay down debt that changes  through out people's lives and soon they do have money to invest. I think it is great to get to know people on that level and when they do need help they will call you simply because they don't have to explain it all again. If you remember I own land and rent it out and that is part of my retirement strategy.  It would be great to hear insights thoughout my life as to what I should be doing and I will get a planner at some point. I also don't like to be told what to do LOL to some degree. I want to save to build a house next and I don't want anyone telling me I should be saving for retirement more when the house is a priority. 

Anyway, I just wanted to give an example of how everyone's situation is so different and how some might not want to tell a group those things. Some need very specific advice. I find it very hard to have a group conversation without giving details because it just wouldn't make sense.

However, it might be nice to meet you this way and talk more later. I just can't see myself discussing future without telling more about my situation. Therefore, I don't think this would work for me. I am the kind of person though, where if I really like a person, I tell all my girlfriends that this person is the best. I can really see you getting this kind of referal Marie. You are a great listener and very knowledgeable  and that is what people want. Plus a little ballsy lol and some people need that too!

Good luck!

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-17-2010
Fri, 08-31-2012 - 6:18am

Wow, it sounds like you put some thought into this event.  That is impressive.

For me, personally, I would attend something like this.  While I work in fields that are incredibly casual, there is always the odd lunch or presentation where one needs to dress up more and I can always use advice on something like that.  Nordstrom is a bit out of my budget as well, but maybe if you find other stores with personal stylists (Macy's maybe?) that are a little less expensive you can attract a slightly wider range.

So far as an approach, I am most likely going to go if you are recommended by a friend.  I will also be likely to attend if I find you on a website.  I don't know if you have one, but it's a thought.  I dislike being cold called, I do it at work (not even selling!) and I don't like doing it either.  Sales pitches at the event itself I am ok with, if it's stated and expected and without pressure.

I am also in the market, if you will, for a financial planner.  I've googled it a couple times actually.  Our credit union has several on staff though, and I've gotten good word about them so that helps.  Although men have traditionally dominated the industry, I would not object to a woman as a financial planner.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-10-2003
Thu, 08-30-2012 - 11:42pm
Here is my caveat . . . I'm totally biased :smileyhappy: My Dad is my financial planner and he is d@*n good at it :smileyhappy: I post all the time about my debts and immediate concerns, but in the background, he has grown my retirement funds to almost $100k at the age of 31. Normally he won't consider people with less than six figures to invest but I get away with it because I'm his kid. Having said that, part of the reason that I can't get out of debt faster is because i've accepted that debt at 0% or 0.9% is not a bad thing per se...
I digress :smileyhappy:
Now having said that, my thougts:
1. I'm weird (its okay, I accept it) - I'm 31, thisclose to 6 figures and have no use whatsoever for fashion ( I actually had to google Nordstroms to figure out what you were taking about - turns out its not Nostradamus' illegitimate son . . . who knew???)
2. I hate "the pitch". I hate selling or feeling like I'm being sold something
3. I trust "straight shooters" more than people who are "selling" me something. I.e. those that have nothing to lose.

I get I am not of the norm. But I would ask myself how to market towards the different types of clients. And is your target market the older, well established group, or is it the younger professionals (think recently graduated nurses, docs, teachers, civil servants) who may not have a lot now, but will 10-15 years from now.
What about getting onside with employers? I know that having someone sponsored by the company has instant credibility?
Not sure if this helps or not . . . just my thoughts :smileyhappy:

Bex -

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-15-2012
Thu, 08-30-2012 - 11:27pm

Marie,

 

I think you will succeed because you genuinely care about people and budgets and you LOVE what you do.  That in itself will go along way.  The majority of people will sense/feel/know what you are truly about and that will take your further than anything else.

I think net working is a great way to meet people, get to know them etc.  I don't know if I would hae attended this particular event with being a stay at home Mom (who makes all the financial decisions in our family) I am not in need of a wordrobe and clothes are not my thing but something similiar, yes, I might attend it.

I do have a financial planner who I absoultely love.  She tells you like it is and has a lot of things she does not like about her industry and she has no qualms telling you what those points are! LOL  I like her honestly and her PASSION that shows through.  She LOVES helping people with their money and budgets etc.  She is honest and wants what is best for her clients, not her pocket book and in the end it is a win-win.  She will not "sell" her clients if the product is not in their best interest. She tells us why something is a good idea or a bad idea  and explains it all.  In the end, she gets most people's business becaue they admire her honesty and tell you like it is attitude especially since it is about money. 

I met her at a networking group.  Not sure where you live, but many cities, smaller towns etc have women's business groups and I met her through that.  She shared her knowledge freely with us and in the end many of us ended up her clients because we could see and understand just how much she was committed to doing the right thing for her clients.

And I ramble on.

 

Sandra

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-01-2009
Thu, 08-30-2012 - 11:16pm

Wow that sounds super fun Marie....

I don't have a financial planner on a regular basis.  I do have a super nice fellow that helps me with retirement planning and education on investment risk etc.

I think though that once word of your skills begins to flourish you will get many referrals from satisfied customers.

Good luck with it...

Duke

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-08-2008
Thu, 08-30-2012 - 3:29pm

Marie,

That event sounds fantastic and a great way to build a r/ship with clients.

I would not attend such an event. But ONLY because I hate the sales pitch that I expect at those things. You didn't do that, but I'm sure I wouldn't believe you if you pitched it that way, LOL :smileyhappy:

I had considered a networking group when we had the video business. But I think w/video, it is just too specialized for that. The group works in that they only allow one professional for each field. So one accountant and everyone in the group uses that accountant and he uses all their services for his business. If any of his clients ask about a marketer - he refers them to the marketer in the group.

I also took financial planning in university and decided against it due to the predatory nature of it. I love helping ppl with budgets and planning. People at work are ALWAYS asking me for advice. I do use these skills in my work - though I will be doing less of that now.


KUTGW,

Dee

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