You’ve all dealt with them. They’re the clients who make your life a living hell. They are those who pay late but demand instant results, always have a hair-on-fire crisis, challenge your every recommendation of financial planning, you name it.
Your stomach churns whenever they’re on the phone, coming to your office or emailing you. Because you know it’s never going to be easy.
“I define a difficult client as someone who hires me to do a job and then doesn't want to follow the advice I’ve given,” said Valerie Adelman, a 25 year veteran in the field and a certified financial planner with the Financial Asset Management Corp. in New York City.
Adelman notes that the members’ online discussions and bulletin board of the Financial Planning Association, FPA, are heavily populated with questions about problem clients; in fact, the dilemma is so vexing and widespread that the organization offers numerous resources for dealing with it.
While Joseph J. Duran has had his share of difficult clients, he suggests you start out evaluating a situation by asking, “How much of it is me and how much is them? What is my role in their frustration?”
Duran, a certified financial analyst and the CEO of United Capital Financial Advisers, LLC, in Newport Beach, Calif., works with investors, counsels other financial planners and speaks on the subject of client relations. (He is also the author of the forthcoming "The Money Code: Unlocking the Secrets to Great Financial Decisions," his third book.)