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  • Writer's pictureAndrew Cremé

How to Spot Meaningful Referral Opportunities

Updated: Apr 14, 2023

If you’ve had a good experience from a particular service, it’s natural to want your friends and family to be able to have a similar encounter. For some services, referrals are natural – such as a hotel. If you had a great time in a hotel in Chicago, when you hear a friend mentioning a trip through there, you can easily offer up a suggestion that they keep that place on their top list.

For financial planning, it can be harder to know when it is appropriate to make a referral based on what is happening in the lives of those around you. Because of this, we came up with a short list of things you might hear from loved ones that suggest they could possibly use assistance.

1. “I am thinking about giving my two-week notice at work.”

Sometimes people are just needing to vent about their jobs, but other times there are real issues that can make someone decide to seek a new job or even lean towards retirement. When these situations arise, it can be critical for them to seek help in planning because as the saying goes, “You can’t put the toothpaste back in the tube”. Simple things such as resigning after the New Year to push severance packages or stock options into a lower tax bracket or maxing out deferred compensation plans prior to leaving can be small but meaningful.

2. “Brad and I have decided to take a break.”

It is an all too common situation where we hear of a marriage heading in the wrong direction. The unfortunate truth is that in these situations, there is often one party that has an advantage of being the one that handles the finances. Even before things become official, having an objective Accredited Investment Fiduciary in their corner to help organize their finances and be a thinking partner through things can be a potential game changer in future planning. Some couples may have a financial advisor already, but once a divorce is in the picture that planner can’t be as objective as they might like to be since both people are clients.

3. “They say it’s terminal.”

Death is hard. It’s hard emotionally and, frequently, financially as well. These are times when it can be the hardest to mention financial planning due to the raw emotions everyone may be going through, however it can often be incredibly impactful to the family’s long-term financial success to have some of those hard conversations. Things like reviewing beneficiary designations can seem minor, but accounts that go to unintended people or places can leave the family with additional grief in the long run.

4. “This house just has too much upkeep.”

Downsizing in retirement is a common occurrence, when the family-sized home is sold and the retirement-sized home is purchased. Sometimes this is the final move and people simply age in place. This is also a good time to make sure they are working with a CFP® Professional on their planning. There is another move, however, that sometimes happens after the death of a spouse or if that first downsize never occurred, and that is moving into a senior living facility. It can be independent living facilities or assisted living, but either way there is often a lot of considerations around upfront costs and ongoing maintenance fees to consider. The facilities often have their own finance department to help, however having your own Accredited Investment Fiduciary seeking your best interest would be ideal.

5. “I can’t believe how much I have to pay in taxes each year!”

I know, we all feel this way come tax time, especially if we have to send the IRS money, but some people REALLY feel this way. It isn’t uncommon for families to pay tens of thousands of dollars per year in income and property taxes each year, so it can make a lot of sense for them to look under every rock of opportunity to help minimize their pain.

This list is some of the more common areas where we can help people in transition or through difficult times. The key to making the biggest impact, when it comes to referral opportunities, is making the introduction as early as possible. Plans can be time limited, so the sooner you discover the opportunity, the easier it is to act on it.

We greatly appreciate you and look forward to continuing to help your friends, family, and loved ones in the future.

Raymond James and its advisors do not offer tax or legal advice. You should discuss any tax or legal matters with the appropriate professional.

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