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Sculpt, Don't Paint

27 March 2024

Great Financial Planning is about taking more than we give.

Yes, you read that right – we should take away from our clients more than we give.

You’ll probably disagree and tell me that Financial Planning is about giving clients the benefit of our knowledge.

That’s why we do all of those qualifications and exams, surely?

So we can impart that knowledge to our clients?

Fill in the blanks in their knowledge so it all makes sense?

Although on the surface that might work, it doesn’t really help our clients.

Not truly.

Clients tend to come to you with technical or transactional questions.

  • What’s the most tax efficient way to access my pension?
  • Am I in the right investment funds?
  • How can I reduce my inheritance tax liability?

They’re looking for you to fill in the gaps in their technical knowledge and more often than not, you know the answer.

That’s because you’ve spent a long time studying to accrue the technical knowledge and, like a painter with their palette, you’re ready to add some value to the canvas.

To colour in the gaps.

So, you give the answer.

They ask another question.

And again, you answer it.

They then ask you another question, and you answer until they eventually turn to you and say:

‘So, what should I do then?’

You’ve added to the ‘stuff’ in their head and yet they’re still where they were before they came to see you.

The more paint you’ve added to the canvas the more you’ve obscured the image.

And the irony is, they already know the answer.

Because their question isn’t really technical.

At its root, if you dig deep enough, there is a human story that is driving the questions.

If we take the time to explore that with our clients, to clear away the clutter around it, we can help them to reveal the human question.

And if they can see the human question, they can also see the human answer.

Because only they know that – all we can do is help them uncover it.

Great Sculptors know that the final form already exists, their job is to remove what is unnecessary and reveal it.

Great Financial Planners know that the answer already exists in the client’s mind, their job is to remove the clutter and reveal it.

Our job is to sculpt, not paint.

Which is hard to swallow if you’ve spent a lot of money on paint, to find all you ever needed was a chisel. – Software, Training & Business Services for Financial Planners


  • End-to-End Lifestyle Financial Planning Process & Software
  • Full Financial Planner Back Office System
  • Coaching for Financial Planners


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