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  • Writer's pictureMark Seither

Your Financial Practice Should Be A Skateboarding Video Game

When you handle clients, they should eagerly grab their favorite deck, pick out wheel colors, and start shredding. I’m serious! 

Not literally, but let me explain. 

To say I’m not the best at skateboarding is an understatement akin to saying Evel Knievel was a risk taker, or the Hulk is a little miffed. I just don’t have the ripped, tattered genes it takes to execute making a board on wheels obey the commands of my feet. I’m partially convinced it’s a legitimate dark art. 

But in 2003, I discovered Tony Hawk Pro Skater. Now before you google anything, yes, this was years after its release, and I actually had to sneak an old N64 into my house to play my newfound obsession when my father wasn’t around. My old man had a moral objection to video games that could only be matched by his disdain for “skateboarders” and their “long hair.” And though I didn’t fall into either of those categories, for the sweet, sweet moments that I was able to tear up Minneapolis or Chicago as Jamie Thomas, I was something I could only hope to be.


So, what does this have to do with your practice? 

In 2019, a Transamerica survey showed that about 46% of Americans were guessing how much they needed in order to retire. The Cashlorette found that 48% of American couples fight over money. And in a 2015 survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, 77% of Americans reported feeling “considerable anxiety about finances.”

Why are these numbers so high? 

Because Americans generally suck at skateboarding through the financial rails, jumps, and half pipes of the financial world. 

But one of the most foolish mistakes you can make in dealing with nervous, bickering clients is to try and convince them to just go along with the plan. You need to, instead, give them a console and empower them to be money experts for a moment. Let them play!

Before you start thinking this is total bull crap, manipulative, and sleezy -- let me clarify a bit further. 

Don’t ever fool people into thinking they have control. Give them control. When someone is handed a company produced report about how awesome the company is, they can smell the stench of salesmanship. 

When you give them the ability to make suggestions, see their ideas in action, and even pick and choose investments they want to entertain…they become the advisor. They become the expert. They are Tony Hawk about ready to drop into The Warehouse in Woodland Hills, CA.

By doing this, they actually get to partake in experimenting with their finances. Not only do they get to test out their own ideas, but, much like in a video game, they are able to see how their ideas play out virtually. If they make bad suggestions or poor planning moves, they can see the negative result instead of FEEL the negative result

And the byproduct? The very topic that half of couples fight over and gives three fourths of Americans anxiety, becomes fun. They are excited for the next time they get to play!

Quick example: I recently dealt with a client who is a risk loving investor, but he wanted to set up two UTMA accounts for his kids, who had just received an inheritance. Knowing the client’s personality well, I knew it would be foolish if I were to step in and tell him, “We are going to invest it this way because that fits a timeline…risk tolerance….bond….blah blah blah.” Instead I prompted, “Well, keep in mind you have to act in a prudent manor to the kids because this is not your money to lose.” 

The pressure mounts for only a moment, and then the game kicks in. 

“Well, I’m not confident in picking investments but if we discuss options that keep within a certain Risk Number in Riskalyze then I should be good, correct?” 

I excitedly reply, “YES!"

You see, he knows he is not an investment advisor. But he knows that for a moment, he will get to try. He will hop on the financial skateboard, plunge into the park, do the best he can, and he is confident that, when it’s all said and done, he’ll walk away unscathed. 

That is how you keep clients excited. You actually do relinquish some of your control, albeit just for a moment, and empower them to play the game. Any actual strategies and moves will still be under your guidance and direction, but the thrill of tackling their fears and anxieties makes them look forward to their next meeting. 

How do I know? Because I haven’t played video games in years, and I never learned how to skateboard. Yet, upon learning of the rerelease of Tony Hawk Pro Skater 1 and 2, all the feelings came rushing back. Buying a console just for one game seems financially irresponsible, but, to me, the experience is totally worth it. 

I want to pick out my skate deck. I want to choose my course.

I just want to skate. 

Kingsview Wealth Management does not provide tax, legal or accounting advice. The information was prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, tax, legal or accounting advice. You should consult your own tax, legal and accounting advisors.


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