by Matt Sivertsen, CFP®
Editor's note: In the March/April 2011 issue of Practice Management Solutions, FPA President Marty Kurtz wrote about the importance of senior planners collaborating with younger planners not only for succession planning reasons but to further the profession. This article is a follow-up to that column.
Because of his extensive duties serving as FPA president, 2011 has been a travel year for Marty Kurtz, founder and president of The Planning Center in Moline, Ill. Marty's absence has left me maintaining almost all of his current client relationships. I've had great success functioning without Marty because we laid the groundwork over a number of years, giving clients plenty of time to get used to him as a senior planner, functioning alongside me, the younger planner. When Marty eventually retires, a natural transitional relationship is already in place. Clients are comfortable knowing they are still being taken care of at a high level despite Marty no longer being their lead planner.
Recently, something interesting happened. Marty was actually in the office, and he sat in on an appointment with me and some longtime clients. It was different having Marty back in the appointment with me after handling things for so long without him. Like a lot of our clients, the clients we met with were in their 60s, getting ready to retire. I know these clients very well, and they recognize the value of me being in my 30s, as I will see them through their 60s, 70s and 80s-not Marty, because he will enter retirement over a similar time frame.
The meeting went great, as we covered the clients' life and financial planning concerns for retirement. It was neat to see the clients connect to Marty in a different way-not to Marty their financial planner, but to Marty their friend and peer who talked frankly about what it is like to be 60 and nearing retirement. I am now their financial planner, but being that peer is something I cannot offer.
Marty ended his March/April Practice Management Solutions column with: "The senior planner has the history and the younger planner has the future," adding that Seinfeld had it wrong, "Younger planners are not our replacements but our completers, completing the work we started yesterday to make it a better tomorrow." This really is true, as we saw in this meeting together where I was completing the work he started, but now he was entering a new stage with them as a peer, based on the history they have.
Matt Sivertsen, CFP®, joined The Planning Center in 2003 after tagging along to his parents' financial planning meetings, wanting to learn more about the financial planning industry from an industry expert (Marty Kurtz).