On Using Assessments to Screen Prospects

While visiting Santa Cruz last year in August at the FPA Far West Roundup, I stepped into a surf shop on the wharf and saw a magic 8-ball for sale (I’m still not exactly certain what magic 8-balls and surfing have to do with each other). I hadn’t seen one of these things in quite some time, and it reminded me that, much like many of the other toys and games our children play with, the[…]

Savings over time makes a difference.

What’s the Difference Between a 17% and 7% Savings Rate?

Our data consistently tells us that in the arena of personal-finance outcomes, behaviors matter. They matter a lot. So we thought it was time to try and quantify—from a dollars and net-worth perspective—exactly how much is “a lot.”  We have talked here before about the difference in savings rates between “high-potential” individuals and “low-potential” individuals, as measured by scores on the DataPoints Building Wealth assessment. As a quick refresher, Building Wealth measures behaviors and attitudes in[…]

Structuring The Getting to Know You Process

Imagine that you can ask your prospective client only two questions before deciding if they are a good fit for your practice. What would you ask, and why? The statement above is an example of a structured interview question. Structured interviews are a systematic way to get to know a client, applicant, or other new colleague that links interview questions to topics or competencies that are critical to understand at the beginning of that relationship.[…]

Changing Attitudes and Behaviors Related to Budgeting

An obvious mechanism to help an individual spend their cash flow in accordance with their financial goals is to employ some sort of budget. But for many of us the idea of constricting any type of behavior, especially the way in which we spend our money, is unpleasant. Even if we label it using the euphemism of a “spending plan.” Volumes of advice and technologies are available to help with the mechanics of putting budgets together and tracking[…]

The Commoditization of Portfolio Returns: What’s a Financial Advisor To Do?

We have an operating theory here at DataPoints that goes like this: portfolio returns are being commoditized for the vast majority of retail investors–either by robo-style services or index strategies, or both–and that this large swath of the population will be willing to pay less for the (likely illusory) promise of market-beating portfolio returns from their would-be financial advisors. This development will in turn put pressure on the financial services industry in general and financial[…]