Why People Don’t Stick To Your Financial Plan and What To Do About It

edmund hillary

Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay

Do you believe that your clients act on your financial plan?

Then imagine Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to climb Mount Everest, explaining how he was able to accomplish that feat.

Suppose he had explained he was just walking around one day when he happened to find himself at the top of the tallest mountain in the world.

Ridiculous of course. But no more ridiculous than your thinking that your client will stick to your financial plan while you are not working to make it happen.

How can you enthuse your clients to act on your financial plan? Let’s consider this 3-step approach.

Step 1: find your client’s iGoal

You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help people get what they want ~ Zig Ziglar

In a world where information is everywhere and facts and figures are ubiquitous, it’s your purpose, your story and your values that appeal to your client. It’s the right brain that needs to be activated to make a true connection.

That’s why I believe that the first step in your financial planning process is all about connecting emotionally. Therefore you want to find out what’s truly important in your client’s life and what makes him happy. So that you’ll know about how your client wants to feel.

When talking about ’emotional goals’ or ‘feeling happy’ most (often left-brain orientated) people wander off because those words are considered fuzzy.

So that’s why I thought up a new word that covers it: the iGoal.

The iGoal is all about what your clients really care about: themselves.

They care about themselves A LOT.

They care especially about everything that make them feel great.

I think I mainly climb mountains because I get a great deal of enjoyment out of it. I never attempt to analyze these things too thoroughly, but I think that all mountaineers do get a great deal of satisfaction out of overcoming some challenge which they think is very difficult for them, or which perhaps may be a little dangerous ~ Sir Edmund Hillary

What I believe Sir Edmund Hillary is saying is that his goal is climbing mountains.

But what really satisfies him is the enjoyment and the challenge (the iGoal). For most of what makes him feel satisfied is his own interpretation of the experience itself that matters to him. Because the interpretation remembers him how he wants to feel.

Can you imagine how your service matters to your client if it appeals to your client’s iGoal?

Step 2: create a BIG goal

In case of Sir Edmund Hillary: the enjoyment and the challenge is the iGoal. Mount Everest is the BIG goal.

Your clients want the iGoal. Your clients need a BIG goal.

Why? The BIG goal creates excitement which is necessary for maximum accomplishment.

Just as Sir Edmund Hillary needs Mount Everest to become excited, your client needs a financial goal to become motivated.

Now, it’s unlikely that your client will become as excited by a financial goal compared to climbing Mount Everest. But you can be sure of the fact that without a goal, nothing will happen. A goal is necessary to enthuse motivation and action.

That’s why your financial plan is so important.

The purpose of a financial plan is to create a journey to reach the BIG goal. It’s like the best way to the top of Mount Everest. Your clients needs to prepare their journey very well or he won’t make it to the top. And you are the one who your client needs. Or else he won’t make it.

When your client decides to go on the journey and gives you permission to provide him with the necessary gear (investments) and to take preparations to prevent him from casualties (insurance) it should always direct him to achieve the BIG goal.

Many people have been getting too casual about climbing Everest. I forecast a disaster many times ~ Sir Edmund Hillary

Step 3: don’t forget the iGoal

Now, do you think that Sir Edmund Hillary feels more excited and joyful when he is at the top of Mount Everest or during the journey to the top?

Sure, when he is at the top he feels as if he’s the King of the World…….for a very short period of time.

But actually it’s not the top which is most exciting. It’s the challenging thought, the imagination of getting to the top, the preparation of the journey, the buying of the gear and clothes, the thought about how and what you’re going to eat out there, the danger of every step, the fear of overcoming the obstacles and to be reunited with friends and family which really brings that excited and joyful feeling.

Yet, once the financial plan is made and the money is invested or the products are sold, we (as financial planners) believe that we have helped our client to the top of Mount Everest.

So, what do we do next?

What we do is that we focus on what we think our clients need. We rationalize that what we do is in our client’s best interest. We focus on the financial goal, the products, the investments, taxes etcetera. Suddenly Mount Everest has become what we think is most important to our clients.

But remember. It’s not Mount Everest what your clients really want…..it’s the journey that brings the excitement and joyfulness.

It’s not the BIG – or financial – goal that makes your client happy….. your client LOVES the iGoal.

Sure, the taxes, investments and all the other work we do is important.

We always must do good work.

But do you believe that our work is what your client really wants?

I believe that our job should be that we remind our clients as often as possible to their iGoal. If you are able to make your client feel great during the journey, do you think he’s eager and motivated to reach his BIG goal and act on your financial plan?

I guess the answer is obvious.

If you don’t want to miss the chance to inspire each other to be more meaningful with our financial planning business, please answer the following question:

What do you do to make your client feel great?

Please, leave your answer here below in the comment field. Thank you very much.

Together we can make financial planning matter.

Ronald Sier


Leave a Reply 12 comments

Chris Reply

Congratulate them on their accomplishments and encourage them along the way.

Leo Harper Reply

Listen to their iGoal and provide it for them.

Mark Fenton Reply

I don’t think I do enough to make this about them.

rich dworzak Reply

I reiterate what they have expressed to me as their goal and show them how we are striving for it, or how the dots are connecting so that they can realize it is attainable or is being attained. If its unattainable, I’m sharing with them how to make the best of what they have last the longest possible. Mainly managing their expectations, and being as honest as I can with them about what they should expect.

Rob Reply

Great and insightful article! Can you describe what the igoal is a little bit further? Can you give a couple of examples of what a clients Igoal might be?

Srikala Reply

Good article Ronald, thoughts are understood, but how to find out about the clients iGoal? It is difficult to explain the iGoal to a client. How should he/she determine his/her iGoal?

partha iyengar Reply

Absolutely true..Ronald.. Our Life Planning model and process precisely helps clients find their values and priorities which determine their goals. As Amy says we need to give them space to share it freely and once they have a purpose towards their goals, they have \’bought\’ into the idea of their \’igoal\’ and usually implement it. Of course as Mike says in his comment, we need to gently nudge/remind them to achieve it.

Amy Jo Lauber Reply

Great article Ronald and definitely what I needed to read today. Loving the concept.
To answer your question, I simply give people space to share all of their goals, fears, challenges, hopes, dreams, desires. Just being heard is what most people need more than anything.


Great article, well I tell them upfront in my first meeting that i put their interest first , followed by a process which involves the clients sharing session. During the long term relationship I show them the care and love to help them achieve what brings Meaning and Happiness for them.

Viv Reply

Great article and very true. Question is how to get clients to that \”igoal\”, I\’ve been reading a lot on the Kinder method of life planning and believe the system has merit in terms of digging deeper trying to get to that igoal!. Cheers Viv.

Mike Leffler Reply

Make efforts to maintain regular contact.

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