Welcome to episode 55 of The Innovating Advice Show.
I’m joined by Dominique Bergel-Grant who has built a successful financial planning business and now focuses on her Tall Poppy Woman program which is exclusively for women going through divorce and separation.
A proud Tall Poppy Woman herself, Dominque shares what that means for those outside of Australia and New Zealand, and we discuss how divorce and separation are different for women, special financial planning considerations and how to empower women with their finances before they’re going through a divorce or separation.
Dominique also provides one simple, clear call to action for you to complete this week and she shares the incredible power of financial planning and how, done properly, it can prevent couples from ever reaching divorce or separation.
Humans Under Management virtual event happening 8th September: https://bit.ly/IAHUM2020
Tickets: R500, US$30, £23, AU$42.
Dominique Bergel-Grant built Leapfrog LIFE from scratch into a successful Financial Planning and Mortgage Broking practice full of clients she loves to work with from a variety of backgrounds. Her current focus is in her Tall Poppy Woman Program designed exclusively for women going through divorce and separation. The Tall Poppy Woman Program is focused on helping women to redesign their life and create a path to certainty and security.
Dominique is a strong believer that sitting still is choosing to fail and that being successful in LIFE is about getting the balance right. She also believes strongly in smashing the Tall Poppy Syndrome that exists and is proud to call herself a Tall Poppy Woman.
Dominique splits her time between Australia and New Zealand and can often be found skiing down the nearest slope.
01:20 - Introducing Dominique Bergel-Grant
02:45 - Explaining Tall Poppy Syndrome
04:30 - The story behind the Tall Poppy Woman Program
08:02 - Why divorce is different for women
10:45 - How the pandemic is impacting relationships
13:16 - Advising a client who is going through a divorce
15:00 - Advising a client who is thinking about divorce or separation
17:05 - How soon should a family lawyer bring a financial planner into the equation
20:43 - What financial planners should consider when working with clients during divorce
22:50 - When and how to recommend your client to seek a mental health specialist
26:32 - Empowering clients before and during divorce
32:05 - Helping clients understand their financial personalities
36:12 - Why life is not only about finances
DOMINIQUE: We've talked about dreams under management goals, under management, and now it's time for humans under management, more specifically the virtual humans under management conference happening on the 8th of September with incredible speakers from around the world. I'm thrilled to be part of this event for those seeking better client outcomes, which as a listener of the innovating advice show, I know includes you. And I'm impressed by how affordable this event is for advisors and planners everywhere. We're talking about the cost of a dinner. The super early bird tickets have sold out, but hop on now to grab an early bird email@example.com slash H U M for humans under management,
DOMINIQUE: We should be patting ourselves on the back. A little bit is financial applause is not compared to the norm of most countries, 50% divorce rate, and it gets worse for a second marriage and once for a third marriage and actually go do 50% of my clients actually get divorced. And I think this is actually, I think if you ask most financial planners, their answer to that would hopefully be no. And it's almost like a secret value add, but ask the advice community providing to the general public health. Welcome to episode 55 of the innovating advice show I'm joined by Dominique Virgil grant who has built a successful financial planning business, and now focuses on her tall poppy woman program, which is exclusively for women going through divorce and separation, a proud tall poppy woman, herself, Dominique shares what that means for those outside of Australia and New Zealand. And we discuss how divorce and separation are different for women, special financial planning considerations, and how to empower women with their finances before they're going through a divorce or separation. Dominique also provides one simple clear call to action for you to complete this week. And she shares the incredible power of financial planning and how done properly. It can prevent couples from ever reaching divorce or separation links, show notes and firstname.lastname@example.org or directly through the link below.
DOMINIQUE: You're listening to the innovating advice show. And I'm your host, Kate Holmes bringing you the global pulse on financial services, innovation featuring financial planners, financial advisors, and related professionals from all corners of the globe. Let's dive in.
Kate: Hi, Dominique. It's great to have you here.
Dominique: Great to be here.
DOMINIQUE: All right. So Dominique, you are a proud tall poppy woman. So with listeners around the world for those outside of Australia and New Zealand, can you describe what tall poppy syndrome is
DOMINIQUE: Absolutely. This is this the one thing, particularly if I'm in other countries explaining this and people got, so it's one of those areas where people are successful in different cultures treat success differently. And that's a little bit of the green eyed monster. The more successful someone becomes, particularly in Australia and New Zealand, the more likely it is people around them are going to want to try and down, take away their confidence question, what they're doing and really spend a lot of time restoring their self worth. Fortunately, media plays a lot of, work in that culturally in Australia and New Zealand around really successful people. If they can find that one thing to tear that person down and make them come crashing down, then realistically, that is, it's almost like a goal of media it's sensationalized.
DOMINIQUE: It's gonna make people read the gossip, magazines, all of those things, but from a point of view of tool, poppy woman, for me, it's about giving women the strength in particularly those going through divorce and separation or strength to actually claim back their self worth, to realize that they actually can stand tall. And it doesn't matter how many times people try to pull them down. That's just other people's opinions. And that genuinely does not matter. Yes. I love that. And if the fact that you focus on women, I mean, we need that as much as ever, if not more than ever now and bringing women up. And so you've got the tall poppy woman program that not only focuses on women, but women going through divorce and separation, show us what that looks like. So I guess to go back to the, the why is probably just as important to the watt.
DOMINIQUE: So, I've been through a divorce myself. It, my divorce is quite, we'll call it streamlined and simple for argument's sake. But as a kid, I witnessed my mom fight my dad for the best part of 20 years in the family law courts in Australia, and have started mid eighties and didn't finish until 2004. And my mom was entirely consumed by this. And I also had seen women coming into my financial planning office who had spent all the money that they'd received in the divorce settlement, on their kids get renting a bigger family house. So the kids will still have their own rooms in the playroom, as opposed to actually putting themselves in a position of good financial security and the may. It's about providing a community and a program that helps women actually go, what This is something that I'm not alone in, which has been the main reason for the Facebook community group is to realize that they're not alone and it's not, it shouldn't be a lonely journey.
DOMINIQUE: And often it's a sense of failure. This relationship has failed. and I like to turn it around and go, actually, it's a chance to celebrate as a chance to raise set, and it's a chance to recognize opportunities, but I genuinely wish that there had been someone there for my mum to say in the early nineties, five, six years into the whole divorce proceedings. And enough is enough. What is the emotional number What is the financial number that you need to walk away from Instead, she was a very, very successful doctor in Sydney's Eastern suburbs. She was, she was the one who had the money coming into the relationship and she lost absolutely everything in the process. And within two years of the divorce court proceedings being finalized in 2003 or four, she was actually diagnosed with dementia. So for me, the, if someone had been that to support, if she'd been able to be part of a group of women and realize I'm not the only one going through this, I'm not the only one who thinks that my ex is an absolute vape.
DOMINIQUE: The bottom line is we've all been there and have all been there, but we've all been through relationships that break down, whether it's a divorce or whether it's a two year relationship or our heart got broken, but we get that things don't always end up the way that we would hope. And Dominique is such a powerful why behind it. And I read you share that whole story on your website, and I'm sure I'm not the first to tell you this, but I was reading it. And I was like, this has gotta be like a Netflix drama mystery. I mean, it's a transatlantic global story of intrigue, but realizing that it is a true story. And I honestly wanted to reach into the page and hug your mom and go back in time and say, no, don't, don't let him, , take this much energy and of your life.
Kate: So knowing that you've got that driving you and with your own experiences and having experiences that are so different. So like you said, you you've seen kind of all sides of it. And at the end of the day, it is kind of how we feel about it. And everybody processes it differently. And, , we hear men are from Mars. Women are from Venus. And one of the things you focus on is the fact that, , divorce is different for women. Yeah, it is. And you look at the race such papers and you look at the psychology behind it. And it is a very different reaction. Women tend to fall into asking the questions of why, why has this happened to me often go to a separation with a much higher degree of, a high degree where they question who they are, their sense of, particularly if they've had kids, their sense of personal identity often is lost to will on a mom on no longer an individual person.
DOMINIQUE: So that separation, that divorce proceeding is really particularly confronting for women because I no longer the mom and the wife, they actually have to go back to who they actually are as a human being rediscover, what they actually enjoyed doing. I know it's a process I went through and I didn't have kids, but really rediscovering. What did I really enjoy going out to the movies all the time Or did I do that Because that's something that he wanted to do. And it's this incredible journey of rediscovery that, that whether it's a man or a woman going through a divorce, it is a rediscovery process, but B men will also be absolutely devastated any relationship breakdown, but there is definitely a psychological difference and emotional difference in how not only women process the emotions, but also how other people treat them. So the loss of friendship, the loss of the other family, the judgment on women is very, very different.
DOMINIQUE: It's okay for guy to go out and get a bachelor pad, post divorce, but the mum's still expected to provide the home with the bedrooms for the kids. And it's still expected to be the one that picks up the Slack when the kids are at home sick from school. So that there is this societal not saying it's right, but there is the societal pressure put on women. That to me is what I refer to as the sexist aftermath of divorce, all of these things that women get judged for by others that simply the men are not judged to that same standard.
Kate: I'm sitting here thinking about all the extra things that women are going through right now that we're seeing. And, , I don't have kids, but just seeing endless stories of women that are having to choose between taking care of their kids and having their job. Because even if they are the breadwinner, like you just said, oftentimes they are at least perceived outwardly as being the...
DOMINIQUE: Primary caretaker
Kate: We've also had a lot of articles coming out saying, there's going to be sort of this increased epidemic of divorces coming out of the pandemic and people realizing, Hey, this relationship isn't working and obviously...
DOMINIQUE: Is a very stressful time.
Kate: What are you seeing in terms of how the pandemic is impacting women with increased divorces or separation during this time?
DOMINIQUE: In the Facebook group, we're definitely seeing women joining the Facebook group before the separation is gone through. Cause they're actually still in lockdown with the person that is going to be the X. They might've already made that decision, but to financially difficult to shift or move quickly before lockdowns are imposed. unfortunately also seeing, quite significant increase in cases of domestic violence and also financial abuse off the back of that as well. and financial abuse is something which is often overlooked, but it's something which is not only relevant to advisors, to be aware of in couples that they're advising, but also who are going through problems. But also just be aware of all of the time when you're dealing with couples to both parties understand the situation or is one purposely blinded. And I know I take an approach when I have got husband and wife as clients, is that they have to both be at all of the meetings or at the very minimum they miss one meeting.
DOMINIQUE: I always have a catch up phone call afterwards because it's financial blindness can crave him really, really quickly, but a little bit off track. But what I'm saying in a Facebook group is absolutely more, more women crying out for help while they're still sitting in the house with the ex understanding that divorce rights are going to increase. And we've already seen that in China. I'm sitting here in New Zealand at the moment and my businesses in Australia definitely saying that trend of people searching on Google around divorce and separation or looking for family lawyers and the conversations I have with family lawyers saying to be a little bit more popular than what they were six months ago. so I think it's, we do need to recognize that this is covert is causing a reset for everybody when you're forced to be in lockdown with your family and your partner for weeks and months on end, you either come out the other end stronger or you come out the other end realizing that actually it might be time to break up. So,
Kate: So what advice would you have for advisors I mean, that's a tough thing already when you have clients that are a couple and then they separate and you often have to choose which side do you work with, but then if you also still have them living together.
DOMINIQUE: So it depends on the country and understanding getting the right specialist involved is the first thing to do. So if clients come to you and say, we're getting separated or trialing a separation, depending upon what rules you're governed by, for instance, in Australia, you immediately have to recuse yourself from at least one of the clients, because you can no longer on the BX roles, advise both clients. Now, whether you agree with that different countries are going to have different rules around whether it's ethical to advise both, but it's very hard to be able to act in the best interest of both clients. You also need to be having very, very close conversations with the family, lawyer, handling the separation and really help the client through the process. So understand exactly what the documents are that the solicitor is going to need. I would strongly suggest before you wave off and say goodbye to one of your clients, get their agreement, that you will be open about the financial situation that you're aware of. So statements of advice or data collections that you've done, the client's financial situation probably better than they do in many cases. So making sure you've got that authorization that that can be shared with either parties, legal will save a lot of grief down the track, keeping the transparency open from the start. Always.
Kate: Yeah. In every area of it. And I'm thinking back to when I first started my business in 2013, I don't know what was happening in the universe, but that first summer I had so many
Kate: Women coming to me that were in relationships where the man
Kate: Generally controlled more of the assets
Kate: And they hadn't yet decided, but they came to me wanting to look at how can they put themselves in a financial
Kate: Position where they can
Kate: Say, Hey, I want a divorce or a separation. So in those situations, at what point, and this is such a touchy subject, would you advise bringing in that divorce lawyer or therapist or other specialists?
DOMINIQUE: The reality is bringing in legal counsel is recommended sooner rather than later, and nearly every circumstance, because at least they can give a very pragmatic logical overlay as to what the process is. One of the main reasons people don't take the leap is that they're terrified of the process, particularly when they're not in control of the assets. and I say this a lot, the women who have the partner is named breadwinner, most of the assets are in their name or not. They're not sure how to get access to bank accounts. the, the reality is, is that a lawyer is going to be able to show them apart, whether it's interim financial orders, so confidence knowing that they can leave their partner and that partner will still need to provide the money until the final financial settlement is actually a great tool. A lot of women feel that I'll, I won't be able to afford a good lawyer. He has a little money in reality in the jurisdictions that I deal with Australia and New Zealand. I know that there are assistants in place. I'm sure that there must be something similar in the U S and the UK and other places where people are listening, that they can get those interim orders. They are on an equal footing to their partner, and they cannot be starved of good legal advice and good counsel from their financial advisor.
Kate: And then on the flip side of that, thinking about more people potentially now going and seeing those lawyers, how soon should those lawyers be bringing financial planners in?
DOMINIQUE: The equation, Oh my goodness. My eternal argument! I can't tell you how much time I spend with family lawyers educating them that you don't get the financial planner involved. Once you've got the sum of money, you get the financial planner involved at the start. And if I can ask every advisor listening to make contact with one family lawyer, and at least have this conversation, if we can base there helping the client to understand what $200,000 NHANES or half a million dollars means or should, should they keep family home Because often the driver is for a lot of women to keep the family home. And in reality, it's not actually the right thing financially for them to do, but it will be the emotional decision that they make. And they may make other decisions based upon emotions. Whereas an advisor can help put logic over well, what is the walkaway number
DOMINIQUE: What is the level that we don't need to keep fighting at And at what level can you walk away with your head held high, knowing that you've got enough to be as financially secure as the family situation is, or the financials are, you don't want to, women can be very easily bullied in these circumstances. And if they don't have a strong family lawyer, who's got their back. Then the next best option is for them to have a financial planner who can say to the lawyer, which they can help to support in the courts. This is what this individual is going to need. This is what's actually going to be required for them to comfortably move forward. And I've done that a lot of times of family lawyers and the response from them when I've been able to assist the client is they've gone. Wow. I've had a much more rational, less emotional female client than what I typically have because the financial advisor has helped them understand all of these unknowns and I'll know exactly what this lump sum or an ongoing maintenance agreement is going to look like.
DOMINIQUE: The other big one that family lawyers forget is if I do put in ongoing maintenance orders, so younger children, the husband, or talking about it this way, so apologies for any men listening, but where the husband has to pay the woman X amount every month for maintenance, we need to make sure that there's a life insurance policy, because if the husband passes away before he finishes paying the maintenance, we do not want the now ex wife to be in a huge fight, perhaps with a new partner and trying to get money out of an estate for essentially what was going to be banked off future earnings that are never going to be there. So having the conversation with family lawyers around insurance policies, being part of the financial agreements, make sure that you spend time educating the family lawyers about this. So I want to make sure we repeat that.
DOMINIQUE: So that's so far the number one takeaway is for every person listening to reach out to at least one family lawyer and all that relationship and have them understand the importance of having that partnership between the two and collaboration of working together for the benefit of your mutual client. Absolutely. And really what you're selling them is a more emotionally stable client, a client who understands the facts and is that if we're going to be far more confident when it comes to making legal decisions.
Kate: So on the financial planning side, what becomes different? Cause you just mentioned a few things that are
Kate: Unique to just a client coming in, that isn't going through a divorce. And for example, in the U S we have a certification, it's the certified divorce financial analyst that specializes in all of this,
Kate: But for financial planners around the world, what should they be thinking of particular to people going through divorce?
DOMINIQUE: You have to think that you actually starting with a completely clean slate. Once the lawyers have done that job, and what the financial numbers out of your client has to work with you'll then essentially your role is to become the sounding board. But also most importantly, the person who can help them create really smart, intelligent goals for their future to help them actually redesign what their future actually looks like two years ago. The client didn't think they'd be sitting in this position to died suddenly that don't have a spouse anymore. Perhaps they've got 50, 50 custody of their children, perhaps they're looking at returning to the workforce or looking at other opportunities. They didn't think that they would have your job is to open them up or open up their eyes to what are the opportunities
DOMINIQUE: What is financially affordable What steps are they going to have to take to be prudent One of the first things, every newly separate a person has to do is create a new budget because people forget that it's far more expensive to live alone than it is as a couple. You no longer share the electricity, but below the gas bill. So it's understanding that personal expenses are actually going to increase. So how are we going to fund that And if that is a gap, making sure that the clients understand well, if you are returning to the workforce, this is what you need to be targeting, and this is what you need to be pushing for. Or if they're, self-employed really motivate, re motivating and around their business and making sure their business goals and objectives are aligned with their personal goals and objectives.
Kate: And thinking back to when you've mentioned a few times kind of on having a more emotionally stable client and it's great to partner with the family lawyers, at what point, or how do you go about maybe recommending that they see a psychologist or a mental health therapist?
DOMINIQUE: Well, this is a interesting one when it comes to advisors and insurance companies, I think we're all really familiar with the, the, the, the question on an insurance application that is, have you sought any treatment for stress and anxiety And we know the minute a client takes that they're probably gonna end up with a mental health exclusion. I know I'm personally on a little rampage amongst the Ozzy insurers around well in Australia are a divorced woman as, or a divorced man has access to free counseling through the government Medicare system. And I personally want and want to be able to encourage clients to take that up because I don't think friends are healthy for people to dump all their emotional baggage on. I don't think family is healthy to dump all the emotional baggage on, I don't think the advisors, it's not the advisor's role as much as I'm sure we all do feel like counselors occasionally, but encouraging the client to have that independent person is absolutely critical.
DOMINIQUE: What we do have to navigate. However, as advisors in school, is that going to impact an insurance application and being, making the client aware that that may lead to a short term mental health exclusion, which perhaps can be reviewed after a couple of years. But that is unfortunately the way insurance companies look at people actually seeking proactive help rather than treatment, which is really, really unfortunate. But the main reason I say it's so important for us to encourage our clients going through the bulls to have an independent sounding board is one of the things that can destroy that personal self worth more than anything else is not only loss of the ex, but actually loss of all their friends who are sick of them complaining sick of being the venting board. And if they can find a healthy place to vent, it's going to help them protect their relationships and their social circles that they also desperately need as they start to rebuild their life.
Kate: Yeah. I would imagine part of bringing the financial planner in early would also be looking at that budget and saying in countries like in the U S a lot of insurance doesn't cover mental health stuff. It depends on healthcare, the
Kate: US is, is all over the place, but yeah,
Kate: Where it doesn't cover it, having that conversation with a financial planner to say yes, you can afford this. And also here,
Kate: The return that you're going to get on this investment, because it truly is like you just said investment in, in your life.
DOMINIQUE: Absolutely. And it's, as I said, the client who is divorced and is recently separated, this is about the slightest claim, all of the baggage, although the things they thought that they wanted may have been influenced by their acts. This is really an opportunity to encourage the client, to rediscover exactly who they are, try new things, try new hobbies, give them a budget to actually do that and permission to do that. and also understand that often people who are going through divorce and separation with go through almost a cleansing period, if that makes sense. I know I went through it over the two years after I got separated. I ended up replacing all the furniture that I had in the house, although want to redecorate it. I want to be able to do something differently, and that does need to be a budget for that sort of behavior. Not everyone's going to want to replace all that furniture, but for me, that was important. It will be something else for your client
Kate: And what can advisors do. And I know we're focusing on women here and you focus on women. And we also know that it still tends to be the women abdicate a lot of financial decisions to men, even if they are
Kate: The breadwinner and thinking about that, what can advisors do to maybe empower women before there's a separation or divorce?
DOMINIQUE: I think what's really important is for advisors to be curious, to actually find out how now couples who come to you and say, I've got X amount to invest, and we spend this much every month, and this is all financial circumstances. Be curious as to how they got there. How did they actually bring their finances together in the first place What made them bring their finances together Cause it isn't necessarily the why it has to be more and more often I'm seeing couples, particularly with both are in professional jobs or they have their own bank accounts and they have a joint bank account that things or joint expenses come out. So be curious about how they've got their finances set up and ask them why challenge them as to they may have just gone down what they think is a societal norm that maybe that actually won't work for them.
DOMINIQUE: So give them examples of how all the people, all the couples actually manage their finances and that may enable some praying, not, but also will probably alert you as an advisor. If there is any sort of financial abuse or economic abuse going on to actually realize that there may be some issues that that need to be addressed. I know I've worked with couples and, I've, I've had one woman come to me. It was a husband and wife who came to me. They were, had only been in a relationship for three years. It was her second marriage had always been a bachelor. and what was abundantly clear is that he was the one who had old money. However, she spent close to a couple of hundred thousand dollars on IVF because he really, really wanted a child. So they had a child together, but I never actually set common goals about where in Sydney they actually wanted to live.
DOMINIQUE: He was from out in Penrith and she was from the upper North shore in Sydney, which if, if anyone knows Sydney, two completely different extremes and very different habits around spending. And the other thing you can with clients is actually explore financial personalities and talk to clients about we'll look at the different financial personalities, help clients identify. Are they the spender Are they frugal Are they resilient What are the different financial personality types they are And if you do have a suspender in the room, doesn't necessarily mean a bad thing, and it's changing the wording. It's that same case spender can be really, really well motivated to save. If the goal is big enough and in line with their values, like a bigger house or something like that. Whereas a frugal person can be a as a, as a partner can be an absolute nightmare to live with.
DOMINIQUE: Cause they'll never make a decision. They'll never spend any money and they're going to procrastinate themselves into a poor retirement. So it's about helping the, that you're working with under be curious, helping it understand why they look at finances differently. And if you can actually do that for existing couples and existing clients, you probably want to end up with divorce clients. And what I actually found find really interesting in the conversations I have with my financial planner colleagues is when we look at the couple clients that we've always had, I don't think I've had any of my clients. And last, how long have I been an advisor since 2004, any of my clients ever divorce. And I think it's because they've actually sought the advice of an advisor, the advisors giving them that information around what their financial circumstances are, is having these conversations. So we can laugh if, if Joe goes off and spends money on something that we all know she shouldn't have.
DOMINIQUE: And if, if Michael can't make a decision about investing, because we just know that's the way he is, but you can be that person that helps them discover that. And we know money and financial stress is one of the leading causes of divorce. And I do think we should be patting ourselves on the back a little bit as financial advisors and actually go hang on compared to the norm and most countries, 50% divorce rate, and it gets worse for a second marriage and worse for a third marriage. And she go, we'll do 50% of my clients actually get divorced. And I think this is actually, I think if you ask most financial planners, their answer to that would hopefully be no. And it's almost like a secret value add, but asses and the advice community providing to the general public out there. I did not.
Kate: I've never thought about it that way. That is, that is fascinating and congratulations to you because clearly you've played a role in that, but that's Oh, so powerful to think about the impact that advisors and planners can have and you're right. It is right. And like the number one thing that couples fight about, and I know we've been talking about husband and wife, but I want to know, , even in same sex couples, it's absolutely the same, right Any, any couples is going to have those different personalities and how they deal with things. And, , often you're gonna have a breadwinner and you're going to have someone that maybe manages more of the money. So I just want to make sure we acknowledge that, that it's it's for any, any couples. And you've kind of just blown my mind with that one, honestly.
Kate: So what are some of those most important things that advisors that work with couples should be doing to make sure that they're understanding those money personalities and having those conversations?
DOMINIQUE: So, first thing is, is finding tools that you can get clients to engage with and interact with. So I've got a financial personality assessment that I actually created myself and I use with clients. There are lots out there. I think Zurich has got one which is available at an international level, which is, which is quite fun and it's engaging. and it's also about, I find sometimes being really strict with clients opens up the financial conversation. So if you've ever, used one of those money tracking software programs with your clients, you can actually see where they're spending their money and you set that goals and you have the conversations every month with them.
DOMINIQUE: Now I don't do that on an ongoing basis, but I do with my really naughty clients spend too much. And I often find they only need six months of free training and they will stop to save money. And, and, and it's about saying, well, we're not just there to give investment advice, but they're to whip them into shape and help them be accountable to their financial future and in doing so, it's about educating them to their options, knowing that they can come to you with any questions that they've got and being prepared to provide that support. And I think most advisors are really, really good at this. No question is a stupid question from a client, but I think the number one thing, and I've already said it is be curious, be curious how your clients have ended up in this position. Particularly if you haven't been with them on the journey, be curious when that person first walks into your office, how did you, how do we end up here
DOMINIQUE: How many years of work has this taken Perhaps they've had a business and that soul be curious about how they got there and also how they interact with money in, within their existing relationship as well. And also the other one I should mention is Austin, how that parents interacted with money because that's often a really good indicator that people either copy their parents or do the exact opposite of their parents. so it just something to be really aware of. And at the same time, giving them the tools to educate their kids. I often find giving my clients the tools to educate their children. It's a bit like he trying to, you don't train the dog, you train the owner. It's a little bit like that. So when I want a client to understand that they need to learn the value of money on might give them an exercise around, okay, we've got a 10 year old, give them cash teach that makes sure they know how to go and buy things and that you can't just keep using payWave all the time and, and a credit card or whatever else, and actually teach them the value of money and tell them that they can only, that's all they have.
DOMINIQUE: And that's got to last them a period of time and it helps the parent to reset themselves. That's fantastic. And I'll link to that, Zurich tool that you mentioned. And I also know that there are a lot of other ones out there, but for advisors not doing it, it's great to start somewhere. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. Created your own. So I know some other firms and businesses will have their own well, but just knowing that not only can you help people achieve their goals in life and create those goals, but you can keep relationships together. Like how amazing is that Yeah. And look at it, as I said, it's, it's such an incredible value add. And every financial advisor I've spoken to definitely has so far had a much lower divorce rate along their long standing clients. so I'd be as, as an advisor, if you're listening to this kind of run the numbers in your own head, are you bathing that 50% Mark, in which case, give yourself a really good Pat on the back and ask how and what are you doing right now, which is helping your clients have better relations financial relationships with each other, and what should you keep doing
DOMINIQUE: And what can you add into your process?
Kate: Yeah. And a couple of things you've said when we've chatted before that have kind of stuck with me, and I think you have it on your website too. one of the quotes is kind of how life would be boring if we just made life decisions based on financial outcomes alone, which to me also gets so to the heart of the value that advisors that are doing really great work with their clients can bring, because it's not just saying, okay Hey, this is what you can afford. And this is what you can do. You're, you're having so much bigger of an impact in their lives.
DOMINIQUE: Absolutely. Well, my financial planning business is called leapfrog life, but it was originally called leapfrog financial when I purposely rebranded it because life is about hell of a lot more than just money.
DOMINIQUE: And that's what I say to all of my clients, which enables. And I live as that example. I, I think I said to you before, like I live in New Zealand, but all my clients are in Sydney. So it was during the whole zoom online meetings for years, but I also love to travel and live a good lifestyle. And I think it's really important for advisors to be the example that I want their clients to actually follow.
Kate: Yes. And you also say that sitting still is choosing to fail, which I completely agree with and yeah, that's, that's spot on and that's, I'm actually, one of the keynote presentations I do is around be the example because that's what it is about. We spend all this time helping clients live their best life. And it's easy to kind of focus on that and focus on others.
Kate: And like you said, with parents going through divorce, focusing on the kids instead of themselves and making sure that we're all taking care of ourselves and putting, putting our oxygen masks on before we put them on other people.
DOMINIQUE: Absolutely. One of my highest values is compassion, but you can't show compassion to others unless you actually show it to yourself fast. And I think we have to recognize in financial planning that no matter what country you're in as always regulatory change, there's always criticism. There's often lots of finger pointing, but the work that actually goes on behind that was the financial advisors offices around the world is absolutely incredible. And I think we need to show compassion and be really proud of what it is that we do. We all have our own speciality. We all have our own way of dealing and interacting with our clients, but we have to show compassion to ourselves and enable ourselves to live the, that we deserve.
DOMINIQUE: We can't just create the lives for our clients.
Kate: Yes. Awesome. Well, I know we've got a lot of researchers out there and people doing academic research. I think it'd be fascinating if someone really did look into the number of divorces among clients of advisors and financial planners to see that, because that's just, like I said, further highlights the value there.
Kate: So Dominique, thank you so much for everything you've shared for that great call to action for advisors, reach out today, find at least one family lawyer. Honestly, if you can find a handful, then that would be better for everyone. Any other, any other final thoughts?
DOMINIQUE: Look, I think it's just, keep doing what you're doing. It's a really, really challenging time for our clients. I know for me individually, I've had clients who've been made redundant or facing really big challenges in their business.
DOMINIQUE: at the end of the day, we are, this is where we get a chance to shine. And, it's, it's unfortunate that it's always a crisis that often requires makes financial advisors shine, but this is where we get to lean in and to really show our speciality. And if you do have someone going through divorce, whether a male or female, that is again, your time to step in and shine as an advisor and be that, and you do the right thing, they will be a client for life.
Kate: Yes. Fantastic. Dominique, Thank you so much for being here.
DOMINIQUE: Such a pleasure. Thank you.