on Sept. 23, 2011
Talking about religion is often seen as taboo in business.
But not for some financial advisers. In fact, many of them argue that it's crucial to speak with clients about their religion or spirituality, as a way to gain a full understanding of their financial goals.
"You can't properly plan without addressing this issue," says Martin Shenkman, a Paramus, N.J., estate-planning attorney.
To be sure, religion is a subject to be approached carefully with clients. Some may not want to discuss it at all, others only in a very limited way. But some advisers say that talking about religion can help clients and advisers clarify financial goals—as well as develop appropriate strategies to reach those goals.
Talking about religion is often seen as taboo in business. But as Veronica Dagher explains on Lunch Break, for financial advisers it can sometimes be a crucial topic toward gaining a full understanding the goals of their clients.
When he works with wealthy clients, San Francisco-based financial adviser Roger Carter says he helps them create a "family values and mission statement," which typically includes a section about the family's "spiritual values."
Mr. Carter says clients are often happy to spell out their values on paper, as it helps them gain clarity about their family's priorities. A Mormon client's statement, for example, includes eight bullet points such as "the faith to pay a full tithing" and a commitment to community service.
Mr. Carter says his clients who write out their spiritual values seem calm in difficult markets. "They tend to take a longer-term view," he says.
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