Introduction: My name is Eric Breitenbach Jr. As a seasoned wealth advisor, my diverse background in law enforcement (10 years in patrol in the Chicago Suburbs) has granted me a distinctive perspective on the realm of financial planning. Witnessing life's unpredictability firsthand has emphasized the importance of preparing for the unexpected in achieving and maintaining financial success. Yet, navigating this path often necessitates challenging planning conversations, where direct, personal, and occasionally tough questions drive the client-advisor relationship. During my tenure in law enforcement, delivering devastating news to families proved more demanding than any financial discussion I’ve encountered with my clients. These experiences underscored the significance of not only planning for life's uncertainties but also establishing an overarching plan to avert enduring consequences.
A Vital Component of Financial Planning - Difficult Conversations: Many individuals and advisors tend to sidestep challenging conversations, particularly concerning family succession planning, frivolous spending, estates, lifestyle changes, mindset sculpting, and other unique financial matters. Advisors, at times, fear disagreement or debate with clients regarding their best interests, despite being held to the fiduciary standard. However, I firmly believe that confronting these topics head-on is pivotal for my clients' financial success. While it's their money, it's my responsibility to safeguard their long-term goals from the repercussions of short-sighted decisions. These discussions, occasionally visceral, prompt clients to articulate their intentions accurately, align their actions, and recognize potential financial distress stemming from any disparities. Identifying and resolving these disconnects, even if initially resisted or unnoticed, stands as a crucial part of my role.
Preparing for Life's Uncertainties: Life’s unpredictability often delivers devastating surprises. My law enforcement background taught me the abruptness of tragic events—accidents, illnesses, sudden deaths, shifting family dynamics, or unexpected job losses—emphasizing the necessity of equipping clients with tools to navigate such crises. During financial planning, we construct adaptable plans and guideposts, fortifying families against these challenges and nurturing emotional resilience, anchoring them in the knowledge of a discussed and prepared plan and an advisor attuned to their dynamics.
Avoiding Lasting Consequences: Encounters with unprepared families in law enforcement revealed the stark contrast between financially secure, emotionally prepared families and those suffering from unexpected crises. Financial instability often triggers a cascade of non-financial issues: domestic incidents, mental health instability, and fractured family ties. These interrelated issues exacerbate each other, leading to a perpetuating cycle of personal and/or familial distress. Addressing these issues early through meticulous planning can avert these lasting consequences, providing a stable foundation for my clients to thrive.
The Value of Directness: While uncomfortable, addressing sensitive financial topics is my duty as an advisor. Directness fosters trust, opens communication channels, and ensures comprehensive attention to all facets of financial well-being. Engaging in difficult conversations allows me to deeply understand my clients' circumstances, tailoring a financial plan specific to their needs. This assurance not only prepares them for life's uncertainties but also solidifies their trust in my commitment to their well-being. Ultimately, these conversations serve to align our plans better, ensuring optimal preparation for each client's unique journey toward financial stability.
If you haven't had these conversations during your planning, give us a call. We'll be happy to start you on the process toward building a personalized financial plan.