It is spring and in spring, an investor’s thoughts turn to summer travel.
As a financial advisor, does that matter to you, that your clients are thinking about upcoming travel plans?
It probably shouldn’t matter. Your job as an advisor on financial matters should not include providing information or advice related to travel.
But there are clients who might have that expectation. More importantly, there are ways a financial advisor can assist in making certain a client’s travel plans go smoothly from a financial standpoint.
This is not to suggest a financial advisor should be a travel agent. Except that there are some investors who think their advisor should be their travel agent, or should provide travel-related expertise.
Spectrem’s monthly survey of investors includes questions on matters for topical discussion, and recently the survey asked wealthy investors “how enthusiastic would you be about your financial advisor offering advice on travel arrangements and expenses”. Investors were asked to place their enthusiasm on a 0-to-100 scale, and the average rating was 19.99, which is very low.
But that does not mean you cannot be helpful when it comes to the financial aspects of ravel, especially if that travel is international, or an extended trip of multiple weeks. For example, you can:
- Assist clients who are traveling internationally with understanding and dealing with exchange rates and currency matters. If this is not an area of expertise you have, you probably know someone in your firm who can speak to that matter, or you know someone in the banking industry who can provide guidance. You may have clients for whom expense is no object, but you also have clients who need to make wise decisions about money when they travel. Advice they receive from you regarding that matter will be appreciated.
- Provide guidance related to credit card use and cyber-security. Cyber-security is a huge concern for investors, even when they are just sitting in their homes. But the use of credit cards internationally can carry extra dangers, and the lose of a credit card in a foreign land can be devastating. While this does sound like “travel agent’’ advice, having an understanding of how credit cards are used internationally and which ones provide the best security is something that can be very beneficial to your clients. Financial providers are under increased scrutiny related to cyber-security anyway. Having this knowledge and sharing it can only benefit the client-advisor relationship, and that knowledge can go beyond travel-related concerns to any time your client uses a credit card for big-ticket items.
- Have a professional relationship with a travel agent to suggest to your investors. Although much travel planning these days is done online without benefit of human assistance, business travelers still use travel agents because a change of plans due to bad weather or flight cancellations can be expensive and complicated, especially if the traveler is already overseas. A client would benefit from having someone knowledgeable to speak to.
Listen, it may seem unfair for your investor clients to have expectations of you that go beyond investment matters. But clients look to their accountants and their advisors for advice on all matters financial, whether it be paying for college or buying a new car or buying a home. You are not a college financial counselor, an automobile dealer or a realtor, but you have likely had to answer a question on those topics from time to time.
So buckle up. You are likely to be asked questions in the coming months related to travel costs. You should be prepared. Know the answers yourself or know someone who can answer those questions for you.
When clients ask you questions, they do so in hopes you have answers. If you can answer their questions, they will show their appreciation when it comes time to deal with other financial matters that might seem more appropriate to your relationship .
©2019 Spectrem Group