by I was showing a friend, Sound Financial Decisions™, and when he was looking at the visual cards (designed to represent one’s financial life), he commented that this would not work for the sophisticated person. The implication was that they would think somehow that it was hokey or silly. Because I heard this comment before from other financial professionals, I began reflecting on its merits.
Sophisticated is an adjective and defined as of a person, ideas, tastes, manners, altered by education, experience, so as to be world-wise and not naive.
Early in my career at UBS, I adopted the belief that the richer a family was, the more sophisticated they were. Somehow, I needed to speak to them differently about their financial life. Always being passionate about education, I told myself, that these people were beyond education. They had amassed millions of dollars, and they were worldly. They already had the best advisors money could buy. I told myself, Jaimie, don’t bother putting on your education hat. Go right for the details, the bottom line.
Then these same people became my clients, and I realized, that nothing could be further from the truth. While they may have had a high degree of success in their professional career, which required a certain amount of sophistication, often that same person’s financial decisions were not world-wise and were very much naive. They appreciated the added educational value I brought to the relationship.
So why are so many financial professionals concerned ? I think it is the curse of knowledge. When we know something to be true, sometimes it’s hard to remember when we didn’t know it.
For example, I have been playing guitar since I was 12 years old. When I began teaching guitar, I had to remind myself how it felt before I mastered a certain technique. This mindset helped me to be able to offer a rich learning experience for my students.
Likewise in the financial profession. Professionals ought to remember that the jargon, the charts, the technical details of our craft, while second nature to us, may be foreign to the non professional.
So next time I hear that a person is very sophisticated, my conversational approach will still be the same- listening and trying to ask the right question at the right time to help me figure out how I can help. Even if this means showing colorful pictures.