boy looking at cash flying around him Parents who don’t work in the financial field and want to teach their children about money might be interested in learning how financial pros taught their own kids. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Some people think it’s unfair that children of financial service professionals are better prepared for retirement than their peers.

These children also tend to show greater financial literacy. Not all of them, but a disproportional number seem to possess the “gene of high finance.”

Should that surprise you? Don’t children of lawyers tend to have a greater understanding of the legal system? How about children of farmers? They are more likely to answer questions relating to agriculture, veterinary science, and soil maintenance.

Get the picture? It only makes sense that children whose parents work in the investment industry have an inclination towards that subject area. It also makes sense, if you’re a parent who doesn’t work in the financial field and you want to teach your children about money, you’d ask financial pros how they teach their own kids.

That makes sense. That’ll give you insights that benefit from the experience of working in the industry every day and speaking to lots of people of all types, (see “How Financial Pros Teach Their Own Kids About Money,”, April 3, 2018).

If you’re in the financial services industry, this may represent an opportunity to add value to your existing relationships.

But doesn’t everyone already do this?

Maybe. Maybe not. There’s definitely a “textbook” strategy to this. If that’s all the provider relies on, there’s no value-added differentiation.

Here’s how the textbook strategy works: You go through a checklist, a series of bullet points, and wrap it up with a compelling sound bite or two.

Here’s what the textbook doesn’t demonstrate: how to hold hands, guide, and enable. This is how you differentiate. There are systems that purport to do this, but in the end, some systems are only as good as the person using it. The really good (and, generally, expensive) systems are designed so that even a monkey can operate them. In these cases, they’re still not foolproof. They remain dependent on the receiver (i.e., the client) to engage properly.

In the end, the veteran practitioner, like the veteran doctor, doesn’t need to continually resort to some users’ manual. They’ve learned how to train. They’ve become something of a life coach rather than an asset allocator.

As I’ve explained in presentations to financial professionals, you have two options when it comes to develop an “explosive” relationship with a client. The first approach – the one all sales reps learn first – involved developing a rapport with the client by finding commonalities. This is akin to a chemical reaction. It produces a sizable bang, but it’s superficial. (In chemistry, these types of reactions involve the electron shell.)

The better approach – the one that endures the ups and downs of market – requires a much deeper interaction, one that goes beyond mere “commonalities.” In contrast to the first approach, this is like a nuclear reaction. It produces a much bigger bang and the effects last for some time. (In atomic physics, these types of reactions occur within in the nucleus of the atom.)

An example would be working with parents to show them how to teach their kids about, say, saving for retirement. This is a much more powerful objective, especially compared to the usual financial planning subjects which can bore kids quickly. Saving for retirement means counting. Over time, the counting gets higher. This is a self-motivating function for kids. They seem predisposed to the gratification of success.

A word of warning, though. If you can show parents how their children can become self-motivated about saving for retirement, they may just come back to seek your advice about self-motivating their children on some other topic. Like, maybe, algebra.

I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but it wouldn’t hurt to have a high school math book in your professional library. Just in case.