Taking clients from “fine” to “flourishing”

By Maddie Johnson | September 29, 2023 | Last updated on October 12, 2023
3 min read

Monitoring meetings can sometimes feel like a chore in the world of financial planning, but a professor of practice at Kansas State University and lecturer at Columbia University says this phase of the client-advisor relationship offers a unique opportunity.

Speaking at the Institute for Advanced Financial Planners’ annual symposium in Edmonton last week, Meghaan Lurtz presented a strategy to revamp financial monitoring meetings that sometimes leave both advisors and clients disengaged, especially when facing the same discussions with little to report.

She said these meetings can bring fun back to the client-advisor relationship.

“People love to chase goals,” she said. “We love to set goals for ourselves. We love to be moving forward, and a lot of the time we get immense value out of that process.”

According to Lurtz, the client-advisor relationship can be divided into three distinct phases: “fix,” “fine,” and “flourish.” Recognizing these phases and asking the right questions can not only reinvigorate client meetings, she said, but can also lead to a more fulfilling relationship.


She said the fix phase is often initiated when clients seek financial guidance to address a specific problem or navigate life’s transitions. During this phase, advisors become problem-solvers, collaborating closely with clients to resolve their financial concerns.

“The good thing about this phase is there is a lot of value here,” she said. “Clients have a problem and you enjoy fixing it. There is value that is created from that relationship.”


Following the fix phase is the fine phase, Lurtz said, which is usually characterized by a sense of relief as initial financial issues are resolved. She said, “There’s a lot of safety here, a lot of trust. It’s a really positive time.”

However, as time progresses, both clients and advisors can become complacent or disengaged.

Lurtz highlights what’s known as the end-of-history illusion that often happens during this phase, where people mistakenly believe their current state is permanent. She said, “This is why people begin to disengage. They stop recognizing that they are changing.”


When this happens, Lurtz suggests transitioning to the flourish phase, in which clients and advisors set new goals and explore fresh insights.

“People in this more relaxed state are able to think about other things,” she said. “They aren’t pulled down by financial stress. So it gives us a window to talk to them in a different way or about different ideas than what they would have been able to focus on before.”

The key to transitioning from the fine phase to the flourish phase, Lurtz said, lies in asking the right questions.

She introduced the PERMA framework—Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishments—as a guide for advisors to facilitate these discussions and lead clients towards more fulfilling financial lives.

At this stage of the advisor-client relationship, Lurtz said advisors have “earned the right to ask deeper questions.”

In terms of structure, she encouraged advisors to approach these meetings using a teaching, reminding and questioning approach.

First, she said, advisors should inform their clients of what they intend to teach them. Afterward,  advisors should remind clients of what they’ve learned. They should conclude by asking clients what insights they’ve gained.

“Having meetings like this is you actively trying to reconnect with your client and, in many ways, get them to reconnect with themselves,” she said. “This can get them to build an internal motivation to actually set new and higher goals for themselves.”

Disclosure: Advisor.ca was a media sponsor of the IAFP symposium. Part of the sponsorship included transportation costs. No coverage was guaranteed in exchange for the sponsorship.

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Maddie Johnson

Maddie is a freelance writer and editor who has been reporting for Advisor.ca since 2019.