You might recognize Brad Klontz, CFP®, PsyD, on this week’s episode of YAFPNW. Why? He’s been a guest of ours before on Episode #95, Tools to Help Facilitate Financial Health.

Why listening and patience are essential skills

As a financial psychologist and CFP®, Brad knows a lot about the power of communication. Financial planners looking to start off client relationships on the right foot should know that communication is everything. And it starts by understanding why clients step foot into a financial planner’s office in the first place. As Brad mentioned in this episode, clients often come to us because they’re facing a life transition or a stressor. There’s emotional context for seeking out your advice. Addressing this is one of the things that makes a great financial planner.

People are naturally good at giving advice, but we need to do better at listening and creating a space for your client to share their story. “All my advisors in my firm, I have encouraged them to put a little sticky note on their computer screen…and it says ‘75/25,’” said Brad. “The mission and the goal is to listen 75% of the time and talk 25% of the time.” Simply paying attention and listening can tell you about a client’s goals, fears, and values. In turn, that can clue you in to what you can do for them. 

Flipping the script

There’s a term for those deep-seated goals, fears, and values about money: a money script. They’re subconscious beliefs about money that we don’t even realize are beliefs sometimes. Money scripts may stem from how someone was raised, what their parents thought about money, and what they’ve learned about money and from which sources. Money scripts can have a huge impact on their current behavior and relationship with money. For financial planners, there’s a lot of value in digging into those money scripts. 

Can a belief about money be changed? Brad says yes. Planners are already doing that naturally in their everyday work. Sometimes changing a belief involves presenting new information to a client, or giving them examples on how a certain approach works. It’s exciting for a planner to be involved with that change.

However, we should be wary of crossing the line from empathetic financial planner to therapist, Brad said. Talking about one’s finances can be quite vulnerable and intimate. If a client is not used to having someone they trust listen to them speak uninterrupted, they may become addicted to the experience. That’s another reason it’s so important to listen to clients: you’ll know if what a client is telling you crosses the line over into the mental health profession. Creating a safe space and encouraging dialogue with clients is important, but be mindful of that line…and don’t cross it.

Meet people where they are

What does it mean to “meet people where they are?” In essence, being aware of what people are saying about themselves and how that affects their behavior. Fully listening to clients. Understanding their money scripts. And in a broader sense, knowing what’s going on culture-wise. 

That’s one reason you can find Brad sharing content on a variety of social media platforms, including TikTok. If you’re not aware of TikTok, it’s a video-sharing platform that’s popular among younger kids. What’s Brad doing there? Helping people by spreading the truth about money through short-form, silly, fun TikTok videos. It’s not about keeping up with trends, but making financial information relatable to entirely different generations. Connecting with people by meeting people where they are. That’s an essential skill for being an effective financial planner.

Brad had so many wonderful nuggets of wisdom to share about emotions, psychology, and motivation. Tune in and listen to the full episode to hear them all!


What You’ll Learn:

  • Why many clients seek out financial planners
  • The role emotions play in the profession
  • How to give advice to clients the right way
  • Why listening and patience are crucial to helping clients
  • The role motivation plays in the profession
  • Financial coach vs. financial planner
  • The boundary between financial planner and therapist
  • All about money scripts
  • Why you’ll find Brad on TikTok

Show Notes:

In this episode of YAFPNW, Hannah Moore, CFP®, and Brad Klontz, CFP®, PsyD, discuss:

Keep up with Brad on Twitter at @DrBradKlontz, his YouTube channel Dr. Brad Klontz, on TikTok at @dr.bradklontz, and on LinkedIn.

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