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Introducing clients to the Whole Person concept

Juli Y. McNeely, CFP, CLU

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Going beyond money talk with clients.

What a crazy year 2020 was for everyone. As advisors, we have had to get creative and find new ways to serve our clients. Last year, that often led to “beyond the money” conversations.

When our normal routine gets rocked in a way we have never experienced, fear often sets in. Fear and uncertainty cause us to lean on the people and things we truly value. At MDRT, the Whole Person concept urges us to build strong relationships in our lives, and we certainly needed to lean on those this past year.

Back in December 2019, our team was discussing our theme for the coming year, and — before we knew what the coming year would bring — we decided to introduce the Whole Person concept to our clients. We didn’t know what that might look like at the time, but we promised to work on it together. Little did we know, it was absolutely the right decision.

We typically spend time talking all things money with our clients. However, we knew that other pieces of our clients’ lives could greatly impact their financial life and — ultimately — their happiness. We developed a self-satisfaction survey to help our clients gauge how well they are doing as a Whole Person. In turn, it’s created another way for us to strengthen our relationships with our clients.

Here is a small sample of the types of items included on the survey. 

In the Relationships category, we asked clients if they were satisfied with: 

  • The amount of quality time they get with their spouse, children, parents and siblings
  • Whether financial issues cause stress or strain in the relationships that are important to them

In the Health category, we asked if they were satisfied with: 

  • Their overall physical health
  • How they emotionally respond to their personal finances

In the Spiritual category, we asked if they were satisfied with: 

  • Their ability to have daily quiet time for prayer or reflection

In the Service category, we asked if they were satisfied with: 

  • Their level of giving in a non-monetary manner
  • Their level of charitable giving

In the Education category, we asked if they were satisfied with: 

  • Their level of education
  • Their level of financial education

In the Career category, we asked if they were satisfied with: 

  • Their current job or career
  • The future growth potential of their job or career
  • The level of employee benefits they receive

In the Financial category, where we typically spend most of our time, we asked if they were satisfied with: 

  • Their written plans for their financial legacy
  • Their style of personal bookkeeping and financial record management

Money is often woven into each of these areas, but it also gave us a way to open the door to go beyond the money during our client meetings. It allowed us to gauge how they were feeling with life in general instead of just focusing on their financial life. The timing on this new theme ended up being perfect, and we intend to continue to use the survey going forward.

We are building stronger, long-lasting relationships and becoming a trusted advisor to our clients. It is my hope that during this time of uncertainty we are all experiencing a deeper connection with our clients. They need us now more than ever.

Juli McNeely is a 14-year MDRT member from Spencer, Wisconsin, USA. Contact her at


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