Patti B. Dolan,
Portfolio manager, Mission Wealth Advisors, Raymond James, Calgary
I set up an agenda for meetings to stay on track. I always make sure I’m speaking to both partners; I make eye contact and ask questions to each, because there are often two different answers.
There’s really no formula; you get a sense if one partner is more domineering. I just make sure each person is heard and their comments are valued. I try to be respectful and verify that the less experienced party also understands. I also get each of them to fill out a risk tolerance questionnaire because both parties may not have the same level of tolerance. Usually their risk levels are not too far off. We have a good discussion and come to a conclusion together, a happy medium.
Investment advisor, Industrial Alliance Securities Inc., Winnipeg
Sometimes one person is more engaged than the other. When this happens, I take a moment to steer the conversation toward the person that may not be as connected. I like to make eye contact with both spouses. Having a visual connection increases accountability and helps build trust.
I make sure to talk to both equally. Even if one person makes most of the financial decisions, they may both choose not to do business with you if the other spouse doesn’t like you or feels left out. Make sure both spouses fully understand the conversation, and ask questions that each spouse can answer individually.
Senior financial advisor, Investment Planning Council, Ottawa
I ask both people the same questions. One person will tend to dominate and then I’ll ask the other person, “Is that a collective response or is there something else I need to talk about, too?” Sometimes there’s a surprise for the spouse who generally controls the meetings. The other person may ask a question that they didn’t think needed asking.
I don’t read statements to clients when they meet with me. I have one and I give it to them. All I need to know is the total value of the portfolio and whether we are on track. Usually it’s one person or neither who cares about the detailed analysis.