Each week, we look at the ABCs of cash flow management.
N is for Navigate
No two years are alike. So, to get the best results when managing cash flows, you must help clients navigate around all financial rough spots they encounter.
Early on, let your client know that financial planning of any kind can be frustrating. If unexpected expenses or problems crop up, she may not get the cash flow results she hopes for at the end of the year.
Further, explain that the main purpose of helping structure her spending isn’t to help her end up precisely where you predict. Rather, you want her to have the tools to steer herself in the right direction when making major financial decisions, especially when she’s doing so between review meetings.
Here are three navigational tools all cash flow plans should include:
1. Specific recommendations. The first thing your client needs to know is how much she can spend freely. To figure this out, determine the exact amounts she needs to save and use for debt payments, for example, versus the maximum amount she can spend on other daily expenses. Also, help her structure her debt to make it cost effective and easy to pay off.
2. Written action plans. Plans aren’t worth the paper they’re written on if clients don’t follow all prescribed steps. So, always provide written versions of plans and encourage people to consult them like instructions. Your clients’ plan document must be detailed and clear, and it should list what steps she needs to take in plain language.
3. Emergency clauses. Life is ever changing, so your client needs to know ahead of time which major financial decisions and challenges she needs to discuss with you. If she tries to navigate on her own, she may fail to get help when needed and compromise her cash flow plan.
When clients face unexpected financial challenges, you need to be their reliable, constant source of advice. If they lean on you to address new problems and incorporate solutions into their plans, they’ll more easily reach their goals.
Continue on to letter O.
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