I recently came across an article (1) that provides some insight as to why this might happen. Though the article is more than ten years old, it is still relevant today. It explains why some people never moved ahead with implementing estate plans that cost upwards of “tens of thousands of dollars.”
The article highlighted surveys the authors conducted with trust and estate attorneys and their clients who went through the process of creating plans, but never executed them. Of those that did not move ahead:
- 95% said the plan did not address their core goals, wants, needs, and objectives.
- 90% said they were so confused that they could not tell if the plan met their goals.
- 46% said their attorney talked down to them.
This is not meant to bash attorneys. I come from the insurance world where jargon is thrown around and products are often completely opaque and frequently misunderstood – even by the very persons selling them.
This is meant to point out a more universal thought. We often move too fast to understand what it is our client truly needs. We have the solution before we even understand the problem, because the solution is quick – and right on the tip of our tongue, while finding the problem takes time and means we must listen.
We don’t mean to talk down to them, but we do – only because we talk to them the way we talk to our peers. And it is not just advisors that do this – try talking to your IT department. We all do this.
We move fast and look to cut corners – and jargon allows us to do just that.
What our clients are saying is slow down. Before you give me the answer, let me truly explain the issue – and by the way I may need your help in defining exactly what the issue is.
It may take more time, but in the end, you will greatly increase the chances that your client will move ahead and sign the estate planning documents, or purchase the life insurance policy, or buy that new refrigerator.