The Client-centred Blog

What has spirituality got to do with financial planning?

A while back I was speaking with a financial planner and our conversation turned to what it is that clients really want.

Although I had not used the ‘S’ word he suddenly looked at me like I had grown three heads and said in an aghast tone, “Are you talking about spirituality!” 

Ok, I get it.

Mention ‘spirituality’ to advisers and many of them will wonder if they entered the wrong room. (precisely why I do not use that word!).  

In a left-brained, intellectually dominated world, many people probably think of new age nonsense, tree hugging or people holding hands in a circle singing ‘The age of aquarius’!

So, what the heck does spirituality have to do with advising, if anything?

If you see yourself as a technician, who is there to solve a clients financial problems, help them navigate through the complex world of financial products and crunch the numbers, then it will probably mean nothing to you whatsoever. 

Are these things important? Yes. Are they interesting to the majority of clients. No.

On the other hand, if you understand that money is the vehicle rather than the destination and that a clients well-being, peace of mind and a more wonderful experience of life is the ultimate outcome then it has everything to do with it.

Do you want to invoke these in your clients?

This is not possible using your intellectual mind. Your knowledge of products will not do it. In fact, what you already know has nothing to do with this. 

Linda Pransky wrote a wonderfully clear definition of spirituality, which I love. You can read it here.

As she so eloquently puts it, spirituality is very ordinary.

French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said, “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”

I often hear advisers say that they find it difficult to engage clients in deeper conversations that explores their hopes, dreams, values, stories and fears. 

They tell me that clients are not responsive.

Yet the block is not with the client. It is with the adviser. 

Behind a client’s motive to engage with an adviser is always ‘The goal behind the goal’. Exploring this can be like finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow because what your client ultimately wants is a feeling. Often, it is peace of mind (or however they refer to that quiet space within). 

Why do we value peace of mind so much? 

Because peace of mind is the wonderful experience of falling out of the constant chattering of the monkey mind with all its worries and insecurities and into the deeper, stiller mind – some people call it spirit.

How can you help a client move towards and experience peace of mind?

Be in your own peace of mind. From the place of being the doing is easy because with an open mind you see a great deal more and intuitively know what to do next.

When your clients experience more peace of mind this is the greatest service you can be to them.

P.S. Michael Neill talks about that deeper space within, click here.

John Dashfield

John Dashfield spent 14 years as a self-employed adviser. Since 2006 he has been a coach, mentor and author helping advisers create transformations in their business and personal lives.


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