Three Times You Need to Be More Than a Financial Planner 

As a trusted financial planner, it’s not always just about the money for your clients.

Sometimes you may be dealing with simple, arms-length requirements, such as growing an SMSF to a certain amount, or building an investment portfolio that achieves a certain return.

Oftentimes, however, you will be helping clients navigate the most sensitive and important moments of their lives.

A new marriage, a pending divorce, planning for the addition of a new child – your clients will of course be looking for strategic financial guidance throughout these events. But, they will also (potentially even subconsciously) be looking for something more. They will be looking for empathy, patience, and support. Sometimes they may not yet have truly committed to a decision, and may be looking for guidance on their choices. Other times the decision may be out of their hands, and they may instead require some reassurance that it will all be ok in the end.

In these occasions, you will need to be more than just a financial planner. Below are three examples when this might be the case.


Expecting a first child can be one of the most exciting times for a young couple. But this new phase can also be fraught with anxieties and potentially even a minefield of misaligned expectations.

Many financial planners have their own questionnaire when it comes to the finances. How much will monthly expenses increase? Who is expected to exit the workforce, and what type of parental leave will they receive? What expectations are there regarding future education, or upsizing the family home?

There are many different configurations that might work with any of the above considerations, however it’s not uncommon for parents to have somewhat different expectations.

This means that speaking through each option will require more than just financial acumen – it could also require a high degree of sensitivity, active listening, and potentially even some skills in mediation.

Any financial planner able to navigate misaligned expectations and prevent the situation from escalating into an argument is likely to build some serious goodwill with their clients.


The death of a spouse, an unexpected divorce, or checking a parent into a long-term care facility can presents some of life’s most painful moments. Helping your client through these moments often requires a large amount of patience and empathy.

When discussing their financial options, you may find your client veering off on a tangent in shock, unable to stay focused on the details and instead playing the painful situation over and over out loud.

Rushing a client through their grief or insensitively steering them back to the financials is a surefire way to add to their trauma, and hurt the relationship. Just as a good doctor carries a supportive bed side manner, a financial planner needs to carry out their duties with compassion commensurate with the situation at hand.


This may seem far more transactional than the above examples. But for a business owner who has put their blood, sweat, and tears into their work for most of their life, it can feel like anything but.

Most financial planners have a solid understanding of the financial options at hand. They might understand how to choose between listing the business on the stock exchange, performing a trade sale to a competitor, or passing the business down to a family member. They may have a number of tactics for shoring up the value of the business in readiness for the transaction, and calculations for justifying their final valuation to stakeholders.

But a truly exceptional financial planner will also take on the role of life coach in this situation. They will talk their client through what life will look like post-business – will they join a non-profit Board, or set up their own charity? Spend their days playing golf, or travelling with family?

The possibilities are almost endless, and require consideration of family and other relationships, as well as where the funds will come from to achieve each different type of lifestyle.

The benefit here is you may find additional revenue streams for your client post-business – a win-win outcome for both of you.

*** This article was originally published on Financial Observer Magazine.

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Katrina Haskew is Managing Director of Leading Advice.

DISCLOSURE: Katrina Haskew & KGH Financial Pty Ltd trading as Leading Advice ABN: 52 146 015 885 is a Corporate Authorised representative of Millennium3 Financial Services Pty Ltd ABN: 61 094 529 987 Australian Financial Services Licensee No. 244252. | 7/50 Borthwick Ave Murarrie QLD 4172

The views expressed in this publication are solely those of the author; they are not reflective or indicative of Millenium3 Financial Service’s position, and are not attributed to Millenium3. They cannot be reproduced in any form without the express written consent of the author.