July 30

Respecting the Profession and Your Beliefs as a Financial Planner

In this episode of the What is Finology Podcast Natalie and Jody discuss having integrity as financial planners. As two moms, it would be hard to get through a conversation without some heartfelt mom respect and bonding over their common identity.

Notes on this Episode

This podcast dealt with some related themes about the value of financial planning and how we present that value. Some takeaways I had from this discussion mixed in with the implications I think they present:

  • Our money is in a constant state of change. Let’s take the concept of a balance sheet – assets and liabilities for a given point in time. Our cash flow is adding to and subtracting from the balance sheet almost constantly and certainly multiple times each day. We experience both risks and opportunities that impact to the probability of where our balance sheet will be at a given time. The complexity of the risks, opportunities, inflows and outflows means financial planning is not a science of certainty.


  • Much of what impacts this probability function is not entirely within our control (e.g. market returns, our ability to perform our job, interest rates and inflation, etc.). At the same time, there are things we can do to increase the probability of a better balance sheet or better cash flow in the future. For these reasons, it is important to be very clear in our internal and external conversations that we are not in the service of providing financial results.


  • At best, our impact on the future financial wellbeing of a person should be measured in probabilistic terms. One form of our value is that we add probable value to a person’s money (or balance sheet) through the financial planning process. This is much less concrete than most people might want or expect from their financial professional. In fact, the probable outcomes from our financial planning process also change over time. For instance, from 2010-2019, the probability of a desirable result may have been “good” relative to the probability of reaching the same result in this current decade, when there is much more uncertainty. This is a subjective assessment, but the concept is probably solid. When the factors we can’t control become more volatile and uncertain, our ability to deliver a desired result is diminished.


  • There is also another value that we provide. I wrote down,

“people + money = a reality, a consequence, an activity or an outcome.”


  • That equation probably needs some work. The idea I heard was that there is a personal input, and a financial input, and those interact in some way to create an outcome. So far, we’ve been discussing the process as it applies to money. We also have value to offer on the personal aspect of “the outcomes equation.”


  • This personal consulting, guidance or advisory that we offer is perhaps even less concrete than our impact on the financial probabilities of our clients. If a client engages a financial planner to bring about a financial result, this discussion we’re having seems to be indicating that is not a reasonable expectation. That doesn’t make our service any less valuable though. How can we frame the value we offer to the person that is non-financial in nature? Is it related to stress or happiness? What are we improving with this part of our service? Does it need to be discussed within the context of the value we offer to their money? Can the two types of value be separates (e.g. money manager and life planner/coach)?


  • Another theme that seemed to arise from the conversation with Jody is the integrity and authenticity we demonstrate by valuing our own services or profession enough to be consumers of it. Are we developing our own formal financial plans? Are we engaging outside financial planners to make sure we receive both the personal and financial value? It seemed like Jody was addressing 3 main takeaways here:
    1. If we truly value financial planning services, we will engage in them with our own dollars and financial wellbeing. This is the integrity aspect. We tell people they should work with a planner, and we believe it enough to do it ourselves.
    2. When we believe in what we do, and we have that integrity in that belief, our marketing and sales are more authentic. Even our service may be more authentic. Rather than repetitive professional “tasks,” we truly know we are providing professional “gifts.” We’ve received those gifts before and so we know their value.
    3. Finally, knowing our own value and being in the business of helping our clients understand their relationship with value exchange, we charge appropriately for our services. We don’t discount heavily or compete on price, and we model this behavior to our clients. We know that value exchange is powerful stuff, and we honor that in our professional lives with our clients.


Some conclusions:

  • Financial planning has at least two value propositions: Money Value and Personal Value.


  • These should be investigated and studied separately for the better of the profession.
    • Are they perfectly intertwined, or can they be separated and addressed discretely?
    • How do we provide each and what skills/frameworks are needed?


  • In both types of value creation, measuring our impact is at least difficult if not futile. In the more concrete of the two, at best we are simply improving the odds of a better financial outcomes.


  • Given the above, we should be very mindful about how we describe our value. Further, the macro conversation about what the public expects from our profession needs to be thoughtful guided toward
    1. realistic consumer expectations and
    2. awareness of our true value, even if it not what they might conventionally expect it to be.
  • If, after all of this discussion, you’re having trouble figuring out what it is you actually do for people and why they should want it, put yourself in their shoes and engage a financial planner.
    • Anecdote: After working with a few different financial planners over the past 5-7 years, I’ve found that the two things I valued most from those relationships were:
      1. A forum where both I and my partner had the floor to discuss our concerns, hopes, challenges, habits, etc. without interruption for long stretches. In short, someone who really listened to both of us.
      2. In our case, our planner would text us the things we committed to every week to see if we were making progress.

As a practitioner, you might never list these two things on your menu of services or as part of your marketing. That’s why you need to experience the service, even become a connoisseur of financial planning services, to find what you truly value as the gift of your chosen profession. 

  • Finally, model your beliefs about value exchange with your clients by aligning your pricing with what you believe is fair, then stick to it! Avoid clients who want you to change your services and pricing to they gift they want to receive – that’s somebody else’s gift! Know your colleagues in the profession who provide those gifts/services and refer clients generously. It may be hard when you’re first getting started, but I can tell you that advisors who work only with ideal clients who understand their value and want what they offer are a lot happier than those who try to be all things to all people and cut their prices to acquire clients.


Transcript of the Cast


Natalie Wagner Willis  00:00

Thank you for joining us on today’s what is finology podcast? I’m your host Natalie Wagner Willis, and today’s episode we have Jody Jacobson of the human skills Institute, and an expert in appreciative inquiry, which Jodi’s late husband, Ed Jacobson, was known for bringing to the financial planning profession. And today’s conversation, dodi and I explore the phonology of marketing, and discuss the importance of financial planners doing your own work first. When you consider the profound role that financial planners can play in our individual and in turn collective relationships with money, we see how deeply important this work is supported and reinforced and rewarded for their technical side skills for their quantitative skills that they’ve kind of marginalized and swept under the rug a little bit Some of these human skills that are so valuable now


intro guy  01:05

what is finology? Here we explore our personal relationships with money, monies nature and how we exchange value in daily life, grounding ourselves in the liberal arts, we explore financial planning 3.0 from the inside out, addressing money as the most powerful and pervasive secular force on the planet. Mysterious money merits study. Hi,


Jacob Wagner  01:35

This is Jake Wagner, co founder of the what is phonology project. If you’re new here, we highly encourage you to listen to episode zero in which we share where the project started, where we’re going, and some of the intellectual basis that we’ve used to build our body of work. We are grateful that you are a part of the conversation please visit www dot what is phonology.org To share your comments and questions now, back to the episode


Natalie Wagner Willis  02:10

Welcome to the what is finology podcast? I am your host Natalie Wagner Willis. And today we have with us, Jodi Jacobson. Hello, Jodi, thank you for being here.


Jody Jacobson  02:21

Hello, Natalie. I am to be here.


Natalie Wagner Willis  02:25

Wonderful. Well, let’s hop right in to talking about your expertise and human skills and and business strategy consulting. My first question for you, Jody, is that your specialty is working with financial planners. I’m marketing and earning through the human skills of financial planning. Will you please talk a little bit about why you think this is important and how it gets to the heart of a financial planners value?


Jody Jacobson  02:54

Well, wonderful question. Natalie. Thank you so much. Yeah, I do a lot of work with marketing And especially aligning, aligning what planners purposes with their individual purposes, the gift they want to be able to give to their clients and, and to themselves through their effort and to the profession and really aligning that purpose with their business strategy and aligning that with their marketing strategy so that they get the results that are going to matter most to them. And I find that this question of value is deeply important. So many of the some of the planners that I work with our inspired by the financial life planning sort of focus, whether it’s through Tinder or money quotient or for the transition, this kind of approach, and the difficulty that I find them running into is that they don’t always know how to value that side of financial planning which is really Humanity side, the human side, because it’s hard. I, I’m thinking that this is partly because it’s hard to quantify that value. It’s easier to quantify the value. If you’re looking at in a un model. It’s easier to quantify the value of the impact you have on somebody’s investment portfolio than it is to quantify the value that you have in enhancing somebody’s life. And so I find that a lot of planners actually are giving that away. And, yeah,


Natalie Wagner Willis  04:33

well not to check out I have a stowaway here who just sneak over the baby gate. Oh, you want me to put them on video for just a quick sec? Yeah, let me say hi to miss Jody. Okay.


Jody Jacobson  04:48

Oh, hi. I’m sorry. You’re not seeing my picture. I’m still in my pajamas. Good to meet you.


Natalie Wagner Willis  04:56

Here. Okay. Let me I’m sorry. My husband must be There’s a lot of them upstairs. I need to go put this this Munchkin pie up. Okay. Come on. Thank you. By the way. I’m so sorry. That is not so


Jody Jacobson  05:13

no, not a problem. That’s why I’m glad to have things written down.The way I’m roughing it, it must be tough for you.


Natalie Wagner Willis  05:23

You know it is and it’s also so heartwarming. Of course, it’s tough. But it also we’re so blessed and we have a beautiful family. So


Jody Jacobson  05:33

yeah, I learned more from being a mom than just about anything else.


Natalie Wagner Willis  05:37

This is such a different vision than I ever had. Honestly, I always thought I’d have a boy and a girl just like my parents did. Both my parents are have brothers and my mom has a brother and my dad has a brother and a sister. And no twins anywhere in my family. And we had our little boy and we were going for a girl twin boys. Oh, no. Honestly, it took me a while to accept that. But now that we’re here, it’s pretty wonderful.


Jody Jacobson  06:09

That’s great. took me a while to accept that I was having a son instead of a daughter and I am. I will be eternally grateful for that little universal joke on me. Cuz I always thought I’d have a daughter. I’ve always wanted a daughter. Mm hmm. But these boys are incredible. Ah, man. Yeah. So, so one of the challenges that I see for so many planners, especially those who gravitate towards more of a life planning approach, whether they are doing that efficiently, or it’s just who they are and how they are, that they don’t always know how to productize that, how to build an offer around and how to integrate it into what they’re doing. They may worry about whether they’re doing it right. And it tends to be hard for them to quantify the value of that because it’s hard to measure the impact you have Have on the quality of a person’s life?


Natalie Wagner Willis  07:02

It is. Yeah,


Jody Jacobson  07:04

yeah. And so that’s a lot of the work that we do is around that. Because if you can’t put your own oxygen mask on first, if you can’t be paid for the value, if you don’t know, if you don’t know how to ask, if you don’t value the value of what you’re offering, then you can’t be around as long or as well to to offer it to more people who need it. So that’s why in our conversation today that that’s why as we’ve talked about, I’m going to focus on planners valuing the value of the planning that they’re doing. It doesn’t mean that I don’t that that I don’t think it’s extremely important to look at the value that the client is getting and to look at that side of the equation, but I want to focus, I really want to focus on planners valuing themselves in this conversation.


Natalie Wagner Willis  07:58

Well, it seems to me that Well, two things. One, I see the financial valuation of these softer skills, excuse me, of the human skills here, as in some ways being in contrast to traditional financial services, which have been so embedded inside of numbers. So not only are we saying not only our planners who are doing this, saying that there’s more here, and that we need to charge for these human skills, but they’re almost going in the face of this tradition of charging for the quantitative material that’s produced. stated. Yeah, exactly. And I do think that that culture, contrast is part of what financial planners are grappling with. As this shift comes towards the humans skills as being the emphasis of financial services because you’ll be can punch numbers into a robo planners software and generate things. That’s not what people are bringing to the table as financial planners. The second point is that this is really about living for you planners. This is really about living your own final logical journey with integrity. It’s on one level about serving clients. But it’s also on the level of saying this is my purpose. This is my vision. This is my insight and my value. And in order to be having integrity, within their own earning side, have their own biological lives. That charging forward as part of that if you’re simply charging under an A Lem and falling back into that traditional story of the quantitative value, you’re actually losing integrity in terms of what It means for you to create your own financial world.


Jody Jacobson  10:03

wow yeah, I could not have said that better that is exactly it and I find it rather poignant you know when one of the things that I’m very aware of as a as a business strategy and marketing strategy consultant and coach is that part of what I do through how I am through my way of way of being my ways of being with my clients is modeling for them how they can be


Natalie Wagner Willis  10:31

mm hmm


Jody Jacobson  10:32

and and I think that’s something very valuable that planners do especially right now that cuz we’re talking during kind of a the the build up to what probably isn’t yet the height of the concerns about the coronavirus pandemic that yes, so, what is so important for planners to be modeling is coming from a place of grounded confidence because when you come from a place of grounded confidence in the value of what you have to offer, then you can be with your clients in a much more compassionate way. Because we’re not looking at them as Oh my god, their assets are going down, I’m gonna earn less money bla bla bla bla bla, but no, we’re looking at how can we make their lives better? How can we be of greater service because I really value the gift that I have that I can give them and that I want to give them and I know their lives will be so much better off for it. And if we’re coming from that place, where we’re highly valuing and pricing at the value of the gift that we have to give, then we’re just we’re being differently with our, we are being different with our clients. And we’re modeling for them how to be with those that they care about, to share the gifts that they have to give, whether it’s being able to help their loved ones who are getting laid off or It’s just appreciating and being kind to their loved ones and their neighbors and the people in their communities, because we all of us can be modeling that for them. But we can’t model it as well as effectively. If we don’t also price and value the gifts that we have to give.


Natalie Wagner Willis  12:19

Well, if we’re not taking care of ourselves, we are absolutely less able to take care of our clients. And we also can’t help them go further than we’ve gone ourselves. So if we haven’t put on our own oxygen mask, so to speak, how can we help others so if we are taking care of our own integrity in earning and creating our financial lives, then we can model for others how to do that themselves, because it’s really, it’s not about money. Exactly. I mean, of course, money is a big part of how this comes together. throwing money at something by itself doesn’t do anything is it the pitcher matters, whoever is throwing that money, how they throw that money at it matters. So I see planners as being able to hold their clients so much more strongly if they’re taking care of themselves first. And I also see the value of the quantitative stuff is actually kind of falling out from underneath us a little bit as the stock market has just completely is the bottom shopped out from under things. The quantitative part is very slippery. We don’t know if we can rely on it, making it a heck of a lot less tangible as we like to think numbers are so tangible with this world right now. It’s showing us that money really isn’t those humans skills become. So clearly a big part of how we’re going to navigate through


Jody Jacobson  14:00

Yeah, what this makes me think of is I used to do a lot of work in it. And there’s something called the innovation process cyclin. And that exists in all fields. And absolutely including financial planning, because it’s a field that is in a in the midst of a process of innovation, and recreation and all of that. And in that process, innovation process cycle. And one of the big issues like in a, like a software company, is that you’ve got your you got your folks who are great at the r&d side of things. And then you got your folks who are really great at the execution side of things. And what often happens is those they don’t like each other. And the analogy within finance would be somebody who’s way out on the financial life planning spectrum, and somebody who is way out on the investment management side things. So the one, the one person wants to be interacting with people all day long, and talking about really effective feeling focused kinds of things. And the person at the other extreme, would be real happy, sitting behind their desk all day and analyzing financials. I mean, I work with planners across that broad spectrum. And it’s, it’s very interesting. And for true and deep innovation and sustainable change, to happen within an industry, you need both right? Not do it from just one end of that spectrum or the other. You need both. And so as we talk about the value of human skills, I want to be clear that we’re not talking about them in isolation, of great technical knowledge, and great technical expertise and communities of practice, centers of influence so that we’re really building a strong network to provide for the technical side. And the thing that makes it sauce that blends it all together is really the human skill side of it. And, and without the human skill side of it, you really can’t do the marketing part very effectively. Because that’s about relationship building and making a connection with your ideal client with your with your target market with those people you’re most meant to serve. And then engaging them in the in the planning process and helping them get from a plan to results implementing and so it takes all of it in integration. But without the human skill, strength, it’s going to be increasingly hard to compete in the market because people can just go to the robo side of it.


Natalie Wagner Willis  16:47

Right? But that


Jody Jacobson  16:49

that doesn’t shield and protect them from all this craziness is going on right now. What they are valuing is, is the comfort and the grounding and The assurance and the relationship. I mean, this is this is a crazy time it’s a, it’s also a time of great opportunity for, for really, for all of us to rise to a higher level of our own human development. And we do that through really celebrating and and honing and appreciating the human skills that we bring to it.


Natalie Wagner Willis  17:23

Well, part of what I see is that at the end of the day, the human side of this is what it’s all about. What is the point of money, if not for people, we created it for our purposes. So one of the things I love about money is the dichotomy that you just pointed out between the realness of the numbers and the subjective experience of the feeling side of it. And it’s so cool to explore feelings and dive into those and continue to develop ourselves. But a shadow side of that is for that work to live in an ethereal land of feelings. And when you bring money into the picture, and it has this punk quality to it of very much interacting with the world very much bringing about real cause and effect, that when you pull those two together, well, there’s that secret sauce, but the human side, I love how you said that the human skills are the secret sauce that that blend was I really never put that together before but it is that part that takes those two pieces and brings them into a place that is, for lack of a better word for a place that’s real, because neither of those matter in and of themselves, it’s the relationship and then the humanity that matters.


Jody Jacobson  18:49

Yeah, it’s real and it’s whole and it’s sustainable. It’s me planning is really a relational practice. It is is not just the money, it’s the deeper meaning that you create with it. And the planning process is deeply relational. Because you really can’t help your clients. You really can’t help your clients create the meaning that they want with their money if, if you don’t know how to facilitate that meaningful relationship with the client.


Natalie Wagner Willis  19:28

Hi, I’m Natalie Wagner Willis as a finologists I think it’s important to point out, though, where our money comes from, and how it comes to us is part of what our money means to us. Whether you create your money through traditional employment, some sort of familial family support, or if you live off of investments, if you feel personally empowered, and connected to the money that comes in that entity Security will exist on every dollar and has the power to touch your life every time you interact with your money. If, on the other hand, you feel the source of your money is unethical, or if it exploits or demeans what you have to offer, that negativity will exist on every dollar that comes in and has the power to touch your life, every time you interact with money. This is true for both individuals and societies. What this means is that in order to have good relationships with money, we must have good relationships with money creation, on both personal and collective levels. Yeah, it’s very interesting. How it’s, I think, easy for all of us to understand intuitively, that money by itself is not enough. And people tend to have the fantasy that if they double their income, other problems will be solved. I’m guessing that most people who are listening to this call know that that is absolutely not true. And then by and large, you cannot solve financial problems with money. So that speaks to that robo advisor. I’m not saying they don’t have a place, there’s probably some people who are very happy with the robo advisor. That being said, when we’re talking about navigating the ebbs and flows, the messiness of life and using money as a tool to help it is that human side that brings it to the brings it to life, that makes it ended up end up mattering. So. So we’re talking about this as being the authentic value of of financial planning. So my next question Jody is about the finology of marketing. We’ve been talking about the human skills as being really the authentic value of a financial planner. Well, how do financial planners financially evaluate these human skills?


Jody Jacobson  22:23

Well, thanks. that’s a that’s a great question, then I’m, and I’ve been giving that a lot of thought. So first of all, let me frame it in this way. So a mentor of mine explained something that has made a tremendous difference for me, and that is abuse some of this language already in our conversation. And that is that to think about what each of us offers as a gift, and there’s certain people, our ideal clients or our target market, with whom we know we could do our best work and, and if you think about that gift that you have to give it think about how much better off If your client is going to be if they receive it, but the problem is that they don’t know that you exist, then they can’t receive the gift. So the first breakthrough for me with with this, and what my mentor told me is to think about what I offer, as a gift, as a gift with great value. And it’s a gift that’s aligned to my purpose to the why, of what I do, which is to help people to be able to break through the things that are holding them back and really live from their strengths and live their purpose. And I think we probably most of us share that as a purpose of why we do what we do. And so it’s a gift. I mean, it’s a gift of our humanity, it’s a gift of our humaneness. And again, if people don’t know we exist, then they can’t receive it. And I find I found for myself that that shift in thinking kept me from looking at a prospective client as steak dinner I’ll be able to afford to have or my mortgage payment or whatever it is. Because in reality, that’s not how I see my clients and this helps me to be okay with my relationship with marketing


Natalie Wagner Willis  24:13

marketing is hard. It’s, it’s definitely something that I’ve struggled with how do you mark it? What is so dear to you? And I love what you’re putting out there about it being a gift because really, it’s not about you actually. You’re hardly see it’s about the world being better for receiving your gift and your obligation to give it


Jody Jacobson  24:40

beautiful yes and all marketing is, is building awareness because you cannot sustain your ability to be of service to just serve your clients in the best way possible. If you don’t know you can keep your doors open.


Natalie Wagner Willis  24:59

Right and yours. Living without financial without finological sustainability and health how on earth are we going to help others to do so?


Jody Jacobson  25:11

Yes, it’s partly an issue of integrity. I mean, to be with integrity with your clients you have to be with or in integrity with yourself around money. And, and truly I mentioned it earlier, the key place I see this being an issue for planners is not knowing how to evaluate productize price, the planning side of planning, the more the more human part of the of the planning process, that the quality of that relationship that you’re creating with your clients so that you become their most trusted adviser. It’s hard to quantify that. And if you’re having difficulty quantifying that, it’s hard to market it with integrity and enthusiasm and confidence and clarity, and clarity. Exactly. And just to define one other term. If you hear me use the word sales, because there’s marketing to build awareness. And then there’s sales. What I mean by sales is converting a prospect who you’ve brought into your prospect pipeline through creating awareness, converting them into a client, bringing them into your book of business, that is a sales process. And, and that’s how I’m, if I’m using that word here, I just wanted to define that’s what I mean by it. I don’t mean selling products, I mean, actually, being able to work with that person in a viable way. And, and having that fair exchange of value is predicated on you being able to convert awareness into an actual client. Yes. So really the the phonology of marketing, converting prospects into clients, building your business and creating long term sustainable growth in your business, is it if you don’t, if you don’t value, the gift you have to offer, you just can’t do it. And if you don’t, then actually do something concrete steps in the marketing process, nobody’s going to know about you, and they won’t be able to receive the full value of your gifts. So if we look at some of the ways that planners deliver really authentic value and why they need to charge for it, we can look at at how planners are delivering that. So it’s through the financial plan that you’re creating with your client, and to know what their plan should be you. There’s a lot of relational stuff that goes on in there. I mean, knowing what their dreams are knowing what they aspire to, and being able to translate that into a plan. And then there’s the support that you give them to be able to implement the plan because a plan is only as good as its implementation.


Natalie Wagner Willis  27:42

Yes, it’s so true systems are only as good as their users.


Jody Jacobson  27:46

That’s right. That’s right. And having a great marketing plan is wonderful. But I was talking with one of my star clients this morning that she’s gotten the success that she’s gotten because create a plan. Have action and she implements it with dogged determination and gets extraordinary results. So it none of it happens by mag magically


Natalie Wagner Willis  28:10

what do you think helps her with that determination piece of it, what lights that fire to generate that integrity in that authenticity there? Oh, wow. That’s what is it the $6 million question. It Well, for one thing, it just, it’s partly who she is. And for another thing as a with my coaching hat on, I always start with my clients by doing a whole set of strengths and thinking style and personality style and preference inventories. So we’re always working from, I’m always working with my clients from who they are when they’re at their very best when, when they’re most likely to be able to be in flow. So what I would say how I would translate that into a little advice Know your strengths, know your preferences and honor them and work from those. And it’s equally as important than to understand your clients strengths and preferences. Because life however you want to look at it, life is either too short or too long to be pushing a boulder up the hill, and to be trying to compensate for your weaknesses. The best way to make weaknesses, either highly manageable or irrelevant, is to know your strengths, to be honest with yourself, about your strengths and preferences and work from those. So somebody might love, love, love the investment data and analyzing the products and if you’re honest with yourself that that’s really where you are, then you’re gonna attract the clients who love having a planner that they can get down and dirty with in the nitty gritty of this. Your investment portfolio. On the other hand, if you find that you are somebody who just gravitates towards the life planning side of it, then go for it. Because there’s, you can collaborate with somebody else or the side of it that you that you don’t want to do. shedding ourselves of the shoulds. Oh, is one of the best things that we can do.  And there’s the secret sauce, the relationship between those different strengths coming together.


Jody Jacobson  30:33

Yes, yes. One of my favorite theories get a little nerdy with you here is something called most practice ways of being. I’m working on an article on this right now. And what this theory suggests is that strengths really are ways of being that we’ve polished and honed and they’re sort of our go twos. And we have other ways that maybe we marginalize It’s a bit. I see this a lot with the women I work with who’ve been in, in finance for maybe 2030 years, and they’ve started their own practice. And they’ve been so supported and reinforced and rewarded for their technical side skills for their quantitative skills, that they’ve kind of marginalized and swept under the rug a little bit some of these human skills that are so valuable now, but to you know, to feel very professional, maybe they’ve marginalized those a bit. And so now, they just haven’t worked with them that much. And so, there is a little bit of a redevelopment process that we may have for some of the lesser developed strengths that we have. And so by practicing them and honing them and learning more they can become most practiced ways of being and that that’s how I think of strengths are really are the ways of being that we practice the most. I mean, that’s what virtuosity is If you think about musicians is that they have a certain aptitude to be able to play an instrument. But then they have to rehearse and rehearse and rehearse, rehearse and rehearse. And that’s how you develop virtuosity.


Natalie Wagner Willis  32:11

So you absolutely


Jody Jacobson  32:13

fighting your experiment.


Jacob Wagner  32:20

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Jody Jacobson  32:47

I’d love to share case story. This is I’ve always honor confidentiality. So I won’t name any names, but I have a number of my clients are CPAs or CFA. Well, people who who have worked more on the tax side of the practice. And so I have this one particular client who has fallen in love with financial life planning, just with every ounce of her being, and but she’s, she’s, she’s family business and she’s always done the tech side of it. And so she she engaged me to help her figure out how to how to offer more life planning in her practice. And what we discovered early on is, she’s already doing it.


Natalie Wagner Willis  33:36

Mm hmm.


Jody Jacobson  33:37

But she felt like there was a right way to do it. And she has to do it exactly the way she was taught, which makes sense for somebody who’s been doing taxes for last 2030 years. You have to do things right. Yeah, I mean, that that’s one of the struggles that planners have is there are parts of it where you must do it. Exactly. exactly the right way. Mm hmm. But as you get more into these relational practices into the human skill side of it, which is a lot of what the life planning side is, there is no right way to do it. It’s emerging in a meeting and a beautiful dance between the planners, most practice ways of being and their strengths and their clients, especially if they’re attracting their ideal clients, because they’ll tend to share a lot of those same preferences and characteristics. So, so with this, with this planner, we quickly discovered that she was already doing a fabulous job of weaving a financial life planning approach into the fabric of her work. She was at a point where she couldn’t not do that because it’s really a calling of hers. And we she didn’t think she was charging for the life plan, but we discovered that she actually was because all she was doing is increasing the hour. That, that she was charging her clients for and they were fine with that, because they were used to her charging them that way. Now there there would be benefits from her later on to scale the life planning to to offer it in a more of a flat fee, sort of a way but, but that didn’t matter. She’s very comfortable billing by the hour. And so she realized, Oh, I’m doing it already and call her Sheila, that’s not her name.


Natalie Wagner Willis  35:30

I told her do it the Sheila way.


Jody Jacobson  35:32

You have to you have to be able to demonstrate you can do it the right way to get the certification and then you can do it your own way. And so that’s what she’s doing and she’s pricing it in a way she’s comfortable with. And so the irony of this is, once she got really comfortable and felt so connected with the gift, and felt even more inspired to be able to give it she brought in two really ultra high net worth clients into their firm. Her husband does the the investment management side of it. And she sent me the most beautiful email just yesterday about these amazing conversations she’s now in process with and she’s booking. She’s booking new clients from the parking lot of the store that she was at. From. Well, I mean, right now with the social distancing, she might not be doing a whole lot of that, but it’s just the universe’s sort of reining this because because she is acting with confidence and integrity and doing things in a way that worked for her. And she’s charging in a way that’s commensurate with with the value that she’s offering. But that’s the beauty of working from your strengths and doing your own work first and and really valuing what you do so you prize it and you just it’s it’s a it’s an attractor, you become magnetic.


Natalie Wagner Willis  36:54

You took the words out of my mouth, what’s really rising to the top for me in this conversation is Doing your own work first. And that’s a concept that I know is discussed in many rooms of financial planners looking to self develop, do their own work in general and be their best selves is that we do have to do our own work first and the line of integrity that you just painted for Sheila between herself and her business, her earning and the value that she is providing to the rest of the world. I absolutely love how that comes together. And then that the universe has opened up in response to that alignment, I think really speaks to the power of things coming together. And that when we do do our own work first, we put ourselves into position to really thrive.


Jody Jacobson  38:00

Absolutely. When you’re saying that it made me think of, I don’t know if this is ancient Chinese wisdom, I don’t remember if it’s from the I don’t remember which book it’s from. But basically, when the student is ready, the teacher appears. Uh huh. I think that applies for all of us, that that when we’re really ready to embrace something, whatever it is, is going to teach us appears, maybe this, this pandemic we’re going through is going to be one of the greatest teachers of some of our of our lifetimes, because making us feel for so many people I talk with so many of the planners that I’m talking with, you know, we’re working on helping them build the groundwork, whether it’s a little podcast series or something, to be able to be of great service to their clients and to their clients yet to help them emerge into the new reality that we’ll be facing that we don’t want. quite know what it is yet. But I think planners will be really called to serve in ways that that may be that may be new and I think extraordinarily affirming for for the human side, the life planning side, the client engagement side and all of that. And I think it’s very, very promising. I really do think that we are in the midst of a very important learning opportunity. And I think the teacher has appeared.


Natalie Wagner Willis  39:36

It does seem like we’re hungry for exploring things that have not yet really come to the forefront and that I agree with you is exciting. I am curious about I’d love for you to expound a little bit you sent in your notes about how some people in the midst of a crisis my lower might decrease in terms of their functionality or their developmental levels, where others step up. And that you suspect most of the people on the call are going to be part of that latter group, who actually feels called to work harder and be more in the face of the crisis and in the face of looking at other people struggling in the crisis. And, you know, I just want to point out to our listeners, and when this is published times are going to be different than they are today on the recording because times are changing very fast. But clearly, financial chaos is a profound part of what the Coronavirus is going to mean to our worlds. The systems that we’ve been functioning inside of and been leaning against are not what they were two weeks ago. And I am deeply influenced by my father excuse me, God Well, I just expound for a moment. Richard Wagner, who felt a very deep responsibility to people when it comes to helping us navigate this world, using this money using this thing called money to help. And I think that those of us with insight and foresight need to step up to the plate now and help people, our clients, of course, but honestly, I think this reaches far past our clients and that we really need to be a resource to people in general. And you know, we don’t have a crystal ball or know what’s going to happen. But we do know that things are gonna happen. We do know more about money and how it plays out about the forces that it generates, than the average person and I do think that it’s our time to to step up and help our fellow humanity and but also the world at large in this very interesting time.


Jody Jacobson  41:58

Well, I want To say that I think what you are doing to carry forth, your dad’s work is extraordinarily timely. And I’m very grateful that you have that you have this podcast series, especially now because the kinds of conversations that you’re having are really the kinds of conversations that we need to be having in this field at this very time, so I know that you you got this started before we entered this time of incredible shift. And it’s wonderful that you have it in place because these conversations are the kinds of conversations we need to be to be having as we move forward. So I’m grateful for your dad for for bringing you and Jake into this world and for you with this loving, calling to carry this work forward.


Natalie Wagner Willis  42:55

Thank you. I is it says very interesting things For me personally, that I feel my dad saw inside of me and candidly, he and I, his brains kind of tick similarly. But this is also very, very personal to me that money is this incredibly powerful force yet at the same time, so intensely personal. And I’m here to serve. This is very importantly, my part in terms of being available to make the world a better place. So


Jody Jacobson  43:30

yeah, it’s wonderful Natalie, and I’m grateful to have the privilege of being in the conversation. I also want to honor that we’re recording this on the date, which is the sixth anniversary of, of my late husband, Ed Jacobson’s passing and of course, he had a profound influence on my own work and literally was responsible for introducing me to to appreciative inquiry and to positive psychology and Through his appreciate financial planning framework, and, and really the great work that he did and the the influence that he had on so many other thought leaders in the field. So, so I want to make sure to honor that as well. Yes. And he had great affection for your dad and really believed in what he was doing.


Natalie Wagner Willis  44:20

Well, it’s amazing to let all those feelings almost multiply against each other because dad felt the same way towards Ed, I have been influenced by the both of them, you have been influenced by the both of them and of course, people far beyond you and I. And so, I want to thank all the listeners today. And thank you, God, I am so proud to have gotten to the heart of why we’re on this call. And listeners, please understand that we’re here to help you do your own work first. None of this is easy. Just because you know about money doesn’t make your own money. life easy. So, thank you for being here today, listeners and Jodi, what a pleasure, really appreciate you. And I really appreciate that we were able to connect to you through Ed and we wish that we could have add on the call as well, or on the podcast as well, but it’s an honor a delight to have you, Jody,


Jody Jacobson  45:21

thank you so much. And I would echo that it’s just been an honor I feel privileged and what a delight in talking with you and, and being able to engage in real conversations. So a meaningful one and I hope all the listeners find some gems some, some real point of value from the conversation. So thank you so much.


Natalie Wagner Willis  45:46

Yes. Thank you so much, and listeners, please leave your comments anywhere that there are spots, lots of different places to do so. And as always, be well I want to thank the what is finology team, co founder, curator and managing producer Jacob Wagner, senior assistant, Natasha Hoggatt. Our CFP consultant Dave Bowman and project producer Gail Pelsue. This episode of the what is finology podcast is dedicated to our guiding light. The father of finology, and co founder of this project, Richard Wagner. Without you, this doesn’t happen. And thank you, to you, our listeners, this conversation needs you. Please send us your thoughts and questions at what is finology.org or on Facebook and tell anyone and everyone you think might be interested. We’re looking To change the world by getting into people’s heads and hearts and profoundly shifting our relationships with money, people need to know that we’re here. I’m your host, Natalie Wagner Willis, as always be well


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