Thoughts, ideas, suggestions and education from financial adviser Jim Ludwick, Founder of MainStreet Financial Planning, Inc. of Odenton, MD; Washington, DC; New York City, and Santa Barbara, CA

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Time to introduce a little change, for the better


Helping people make informed financial decisions can be tough.  Now don’t fret, this isn’t a pity party kind of blog coming up.  These are just some thoughts on how to get people to act in their own best interest.  I think my doctor might have the same kind of thoughts sometimes, but not about me.

Being a financial advisor that only gives advice and doesn’t sell or manage stuff, has its advantages.  We don’t get a lot of phone calls or emails asking why we screwed up.  Now, both my partner Anna and I screw up plenty, but we try to catch each other’s mistakes before we foist them on the public.  However, when we do give advice whether in person, on the phone, on Skype or via email, we are never really sure what’s going to happen.  We usually find out later.

In our business model, we also don’t have to do quarterly reports or publish newsletters to explain what’s going right or wrong.  Who reads those?  I’m sure some folks do, but in past lives we hoped 5% took a look.  Only engineers, who found every addition error or typo, seemed willing to communicate about our offerings.

How late we hear from someone usually relates directly whether they are following our advice.  If we get phone or email soon after the delivery, then we know the client is doing something with our recommendations – thinking about them and, or trying to implement them and needs our assistance or further explanation.

It’s not unusual to see clients a year later and find that most of the work we recommended is yet to be completed. How were we to know? That’s where my doctor comes in.  He makes a follow on appointment right then when I’m sitting there.  Funny how the prescription runs out just about the time our next meeting is to take place.

OK, so Doctor of Financial Advice Ludwick is going to change his ways and book follow up appointments right away and also have the office staff follow up a week later to see how things are going. Yes nurse, I’m taking my pills and exercising.  I get the sense their interested in my welfare.  I can take a hint.

So after nine years of operating in a certain way, Doctors Ludwick and Sergunina will alter their practice and help their clients move forward in their financial lives. Yes it means more phone calls for us, but we expect to see more accomplishments because of our efforts.  Yes, it might mean we have to switch more appointments that need to be altered, but I think we can handle it.

So if you’re a client of ours, what do you think?  If you’re a colleague, what do you think? And if you’re a prospective client, what do you think?



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