Each week, we look at the ABCs of cash flow management.

T is for Trajectory

Over time, clients can forget why they’ve bought certain products, such as insurance policies they have to pay for each month. That usually means they’ve lost sight of the trajectory of their financial plans.

This is one of the most common reasons clients become frustrated with advisors. If that frustration isn’t dealt with, people can start asking to scrap investments and products. They can also stop contributing to investment and saving accounts, which compromises their financial plans.


To prevent this, consider offering to manage the cash flows of clients when you’re building, or even reviewing, their portfolios. Having a cash flow plan will make it easier for people to focus on their finances and goals regularly, as well as understand how you’re helping them build wealth.

Read: Canada warms to goals-based investing

Also, as people reach their short-term cash flow goals, they’ll have a greater sense of success and will be reminded of the trajectory of their financial plans. The main benefit is you won’t need to re-sell the products and strategies you pitched when building those plans in the first place.

Read: The ABCs of cash flow planning: S is for Symbiotic

When taking part in cash flow planning, people know they’re on the right track since they can take the following two steps.

1. Review results more often. You likely only conduct portfolio reviews quarterly or annually, but you can go over cash flow results more often, especially since you’ll generally start seeing the effects of cash flow planning within 60 days. When goals are met, connect with your clients and remind them of their successes and your value. Read: The ABCs of cash flow planning: Q is for Quantifiable

2. Celebrate short-term progress. If you do this, your clients will be more likely to moderate their behaviours. It’s common for people to feel the effects of cash flow planning within ten to 14 days (due to spending and debt repayment changes), so make sure they focus on their accomplishments rather than on the challenge of altering behaviours.

When comparing cash flow planning and regular financial planning, ask yourself how long it can take to verify clients’ progress for each kind. As well, consider how long it takes for clients to feel they’re being rewarded for their hard work. People often don’t benefit from insurance policies for years, for example, especially since some are even purchased to cover estate expenses.


Making long-term goals is important, and they can be reached, but it’s rare for clients to see or feel results quickly. If you can offer more immediate results, they’ll be more likely to value and follow your advice.

Continue on to letter U.

Stephanie Holmes-Winton is a Halifax based financial services educator/speaker who helps advisors find the money to help their clients fund their financial plans. She is the author of Defusing The Debt Bomb & $pent. Stephanie is also the founder and board chair of the Certified Cash Flow Specialist™ designation program. You can reach Stephanie at or
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