Protecting your client’s pockets

By Stephanie Holmes-Winton | May 10, 2010 | Last updated on September 21, 2023
4 min read

You’ve all seen the commercial. A guy is out for a jog with a banker’s hand jammed into the back pocket of his seventies style short-shorts, picking his pocket during the run.

I bet you can even remember the song in your head. “Hands in my pocket” is what Jim Guthrie sings then the announcer speaks.

“With their high interest rate credit cards, banks always have their hands in your pocket,” he says.

So whose hands are in your client’s pockets? Do you know? Do you know what else they are digging for? Don’t lose focus. It’s not just those high interest rate credit cards that you should be paying attention to. Every time your client steps into another financial institution for any reason, even day-to-day banking or lending, your client’s pockets lay bare and vulnerable to those cold hands looking for a snuggly warm place to settle into.

What are you going to do about it?

This may not seem like a big deal but I see great risk in those hands being anywhere near my clients. The fate of the independent advisor is becoming clear. I fear that soon we’ll be an endangered species. Given the way the world is going, we could be bordering on extinction and don’t even know it. This break in continuity when our clients deal with other organizations for what may seem like mundane transactions now may turn into a transfer form later.

There is much talk in our industry that the largest wealth transfers in history will take place over the next 10 years or so. Some say the money is going to the kids, and far too many advisors don’t have a relationship with them. Some see it going to a combination of CRA and the health care system –insurance, of course, could reduce that. I think though we may be lacking clarity of where this transfer is really going to end up. I think whatever taxes and health care don’t eat up will, in far too many cases, end up in the hands of the various creditors of those beneficiaries. There are hands buried very deeply in the pockets of those heirs.

This is not a small problem and if it doesn’t get our attention now, your book of business could be eroded by client debt – current or future generations. The October 2009 issue of ‘Money Sense’ shows the writing on the wall when they advised: “Canadians are now carrying debt loads very similar to the ones in the U.S. before its economy began to implode in 2006.”

Knowing that, the question becomes what are we going to do about this? There are some ways to build a better fence around your relationships with your clients and keep hands out of their pockets simultaneously.

Here are a few to get you started.

1. Ask clients about current banking

Talk to your clients about how they bank, where they bank and how much they spend. Depending on your client’s situation, you may be able to offer solutions for some or all of their current needs through products you have access to. Are you taking advantage of the banking products that are out there or is your client dealing with another institution directly, leaving that gate wide open? There are conditions surrounding those products. Can they really round out your practice and protect it?

2. Get a credit mentor

Find a professional you can trust who deals with credit for a living. Examples would be bankers, mortgage brokers, banking consultants or other lenders. Ask them to spend some time with you explaining how credit works. You will be amazed at the insight you’ll gain when you understand this complex area of finance better. If you’re comfortable, maybe have them give a talk to your clients about taking care with credit. You can really add value to your advice and help your clients protect their financial plans when they know how to manage their credit.

3. Help clients get a grip on spending

I guarantee most of those with their hands in your client’s pockets don’t dare talk about spending with them. I also guarantee your clients sense that they need guidance in this area and feel like they’ve been left to figure it out for themselves. If you want to add value to your practice, help clients first understand where their money is going then give them some round number guidelines on where it could go.

Don’t worry, it won’t take all day. In fact, what should take hours can take minutes when you leverage technology. I found software last year that made getting the whole truth on current cash flow a snap. I’ve mentioned it before. You can find more info at Once you know where the money flows, you can help them decide how to better apply their cash flow to the things they really want in life, now and later. You want to differentiate yourself and this will do it!

Bottom line, that banker running behind the jogger is salivating at the thought of the interest they’ll earn if our clients continue along at their current pace unchecked. Do you really want to leave these holes in the fence and the gate gaping open? Do you want to put your clients and your practice at risk? If not then start digging. I guarantee that with an investment of a little extra time, you can increase loyalty, referrals and income when you can help clients get those pesky hands out of their pockets!

Stephanie Holmes-Winton

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