Come close, I have a secret to tell you…we primarily serve White people.
During this moment of reflection on systemic racism, I can't help but look around and see that our industry is not reflective of our national diversity.
Financial planning primarily serves people who already have money. Given the racial disparity in wealth accumulation, that means we primarily serve White people.
I say this not to disparage White people. None of us choose which race we are born into. I am saying this to start a conversation about the role we can play in changing the status quo.
We have a super power. Yes, we help people accomplish their financial goals, but we do more than that. We reduce stress and worry. We improve relationships. We have a multi-generational impact. We solve problems and we create space for clients to dream.
But who is the primary beneficiaries of our super powers? Wealthy White people.
When I went independent and started my own firm, I thought I would do what generations of advisors before me have done, "go up-market". We are taught that to be successful as an advisor is to get paid a lot serving high net-worth clients.
But you know what, it didn't make me happy. I have nothing against the wealthy, but helping rich people get richer did not give me a sense of purpose and meaning. I wanted to help regular people accomplish their goals and improve the trajectory of their lives. So, I have prioritized purpose over the size of my paycheck and continued to serve the mass-affluent community.
The conversation around race and financial planning has a similar feel to it.
As an industry, we serve wealthy people.
According to the Urban Institute, as of 2016, White family wealth was seven times greater than Black family wealth and five times great than Hispanic family wealth.
So, we end up serving White people.
We also have a tendency to serve people who "look like us".
According to the CFP Board, as of 2017, 3.5% of CFPs were Black or Latino.
So, we end up serving White people.
To be clear, there is nothing wrong with being a successful White person, but if we continue to go with the logical and natural flow, nothing will change.
We need to stop and ask ourselves, "Does maintaining the status quo bring a sense of purpose and meaning to our work?"
If the answer is no, then we are going to have to do more than "chase the dollars". We are going to have to make a concerted effort to find a way to use our super powers on behalf of a more diverse clientele. It won’t happen by accident.
I am a White person. I live in a state that is not very diverse. Though I happily have some Black, Latino and Asian clients, I will not call myself an expert on how to make planning more accessible to diverse clients. I am trying to figure out the answer to this challenge right along with you.
What I have decided to do is to bring together a panel of diverse financial advisors and ask them how we can do better.
On Friday, June 26th at 11AM (MT) I will be hosting the MAKING PLANNING ACCESSIBLE conversation with a group of successful Black, Latino and Asian financial advisors.
I will be asking them three questions:
-What systemic issues have affected your community historically?
-Are there any unique cultural aspects that we should be aware of as we serve clients from your community?
-What can we do reach out to members of your community?
Our goal is to start a conversation about how we can 1. reach a more diverse clientele and 2. serve them better when they become clients.
This conversation will be held during the IMPLEMENTATION Monthly Mastermind live group coaching call via Zoom and audience participation is encouraged!
The IMM is a paid coaching program, but you can get one month absolutely free and participate in the live call. You will also get instant access eight other binge-worthy training calls in the IMM Archives.
If you cancel within the first month, you will be charged nothing. If you love it, you are welcome to stay and become part of the IMPLEMENTATION Monthly Mastermind Community.
I hope to see you on the MAKING PLANNING ACCESSIBLE live call! I would also love to hear from you about how you think we can broaden our reach as an industry!
With Purpose and Optimism,