I’m back to thinking about financial life planning this month. I was trying to think of a topic, and I always find it easier to write about something I’m passionate about or find supremely interesting. And what do I love about financial life planning? Working with geeks.
It’s not a bad thing to be a geek anymore (for you readers who are a bit older than the average Millennial). The geeks in my practice would happily call themselves geeks; it’s a badge of honor! When I call someone a geek, it’s a compliment.
So why do I love working with geeks? Let me count the ways:
- They are emotional, thoughtful, deep, intelligent people…AND they are fact-driven. When I tell them they need to do XYZ to become financially independent, they want to understand the numbers. But as soon as they do, they are on board. I’m not saying that every decision is based ONLY on numbers, but a geek doesn’t ignore the numbers or try to wriggle around them and just do what they want. They live the numbers!
- They are emotional, thoughtful, deep, intelligent people. Let’s go back to this one for a moment. My geeks know a lot more about themselves than I did in my 30’s and 40’s. They are very good at articulating who they are and what they want, and of course this is the real foundation of any financial life plan. I do understand that this is partly generational, since my geeks also tend to be Millennials. But I think geeks sometimes get a bad rap for being cold or robotic, when nothing is further from the truth. These are warm, generous, kind people.
- They are neat and tidy. Sure, this is a generalization; I’m sure there are plenty of geeks out there whose sock drawers are a disaster. But my geeks do tend to have their financial stuff tidy and organized, even if they aren’t quite sure what to do with all of it yet. When I ask for documents, I have an email in three minutes. When I ask for their expenses, I get an itemized list with 37 sub-categories. I admire that level of detail, and good data into a plan means good data out.
- They aren’t afraid to ask an expert. Geeks deal with complexity all the time, so they aren’t afraid to get help when they need it. If they aren’t a mechanic, they don’t fix their own car. If they aren’t a financial expert, they have no problem hiring someone who is. I’m not saying they blindly follow every word I say, but they don’t come into the financial life planning process with a lot of ego, as if they know it all already. It’s easier to coach someone who doesn’t imagine they have it all together.
- They refer. OK, this one is self-serving since my business runs primarily on client referrals. When a geek goes through the financial life planning process and is happy with the experience, they will tell all of their friends and family. They are used to recommending all kinds of experiences to others, and they keep on doing it until they run out of people to tell. I like a geek’s referrals a lot because a geek tends to refer another geek…who will be a fantastic fit for my practice.
- They take action. I really love this one: once a geek sees that they need to do X to get Y they jump on board. They don’t waffle, wait, procrastinate, or think about it for three months. If they agree that they need to do it, they start right away. Accountability is the cornerstone of my practice, so it really helps when people are eager to take the actions I recommend.
Oh, there are plenty of other reasons I love geeks, like the Red Dwarf t-shirts and Con obsessions. But the list above could really be called “How to be a Great Financial Life Planning Client.” You, too, can be as engaged and thoughtful as a geek…and maybe you already are. If you are, your plan can be just as great a success as theirs.