top of page

On Regenerative Financial Advice

sketches of two humans facing each other and part of a giant tree of connections and swirls
Midjourney - 2 human brains and nervous systems connecting in the style of Gustav Klimt

We here at the Future of Financial Advice approach financial advice in a cross-disciplinary manner. We borrow from the science and practice of Interpersonal Neurobiology, Contemplative Studies, and Futures Thinking in the service of addressing the most pressing issues of our time: advisor well-being, client well-being, the well-being of the advisor-client relationship, and the sustainability of your business.

Regeneration isn't just about agriculture.

You may have heard about regenerative practices as they relate to agriculture. For example: building soil health, increasing biodiversity, and improving water retention. The goal is to improve systems, reduce costs, improve yields, and create a more sustainable and resilient food system.

In futures thinking, we often talk about regenerative practices as they relate to economics, well-being, and the climate crisis. Whether you're imagining what the future could look like with respect to farming, working, or medicine, regenerative practices are ones that are healing and restorative. Rather than extracting value, they provide value. And they don't leave behind waste. Regeneration heals the future through actual physical work, yes, but also through care and love. Its foundation is care and love for the planet and the generations of life to come. It's a different model for living and doing business.

Do you see where we're going with this?

Let's apply this to financial advice.

To be clear, we're not talking about regenerative economics, regenerative financing, or investment choices that are aligned with regeneration. No, Chat GPT, not this 👇

But that's an easy mistake to make, and it's mostly related to the wording of the prompt. ChatGPT is human-trained and adapts by receiving feedback, so it's best to downvote responses that are incorrect or nuanced and give the good folks over at OpenAI feedback so they can fine-tune.

What we're talking about is the quality of the relationship between advisors and those they serve. We're talking about a way of being, thinking, and relating with: yourself, your clients, and your business that's sustainable, regenerative, and adds impact. It doesn't leave waste behind. Here, waste would mean it doesn't create other problems (personal, financial, or business operations) in its wake. A regenerative relationship is marked by growth and improvement—for both parties.

Financial planning needs to evolve beyond a model that's okay with sacrificing advisor well-being for client financial success. It needs to prioritize the well-being of the advisor and the client, and it probably needs to redefine financial success, but we can talk about that later.

What does this look like?

When you make your own well-being and personal development your priority, a byproduct is compassion and the broadening of your circle of care. You have a desire to be a positive force in the growth and flourishing of those around you. And you're able to do that—you have the capacity to do that—because of your awareness of what it takes to practice awareness, stretch your thinking, and shift your inner experience when you need to. You're resourced and ready to be a resource for others.

Your priorities might shift as the way you think about what you do and how you do it tends to shift with your growing awareness of what it means to live life with a regenerative sense of purpose. You might even decide you want to redesign your clients' meeting experiences, prioritizing where they're at rather than what you want from them.

On Meetings as Gifts

Rather than approaching meetings as opportunities to extract information and other resources from clients, regenerative advising approaches meetings as opportunities to give the client what they need in that moment. And in order to do that, you need to be positioned to sense what they need, ask skillful questions, and provide them with space to be human in response to your inquiry.

It's a gift to be the focus of someone's care and attention. It's a gift to be in the presence of someone you can exhale with, you can unravel with, and you can be quiet with.

Maybe what your client really needs is to go for a walk with you, as that's their way of getting into the frame of mind and body they need to be in to shift into talking about their finances. Maybe you're in a position to adopt an Outside First policy, where you walk around for 10 minutes outside with your clients before venturing inside.

It's your mission to leave each client in better condition than when you found them financially, right? All we're doing is extending that to the quality of the relationship, and to how the client experiences you as an advisor.

What's Coming . . .

If you're interested in keeping up with the developments in AI, here's a handy guide of stuff you might want to try. Let us know what you found most useful! You may know, as Mary writes about in her book, that Emotion AI, though not prevalent in financial services today, might be in 10 years. Whether or not that means there will be human financial advisors is anyone's guess. We might all be meeting in the metaverse, wearing haptic suits. We might have some kind of neurotechnology like a brain computer interface (Elon Musk's Neuralink is like that), or a stylus and tablet that senses our state and is able to regulate it. Or maybe even subcutaneous or digestible sensors.

Preparing for The Future

What we know today is that AI can help make marketing, meetings, follow-up, customer service, media production, and research faster, easier, and more efficient. It can help increase revenue, decrease costs, and lower risks. Read here about an advisor who's using ChatGPT to help his clients. There are various barriers to the adoption of AI. What are yours?

Join Us for a Window into Possible Futures

During our new course, we'll be playing with emerging and existing technologies and increasing your comfort level with them by doing some mental time travel and living in worlds you might not be able to imagine . . . yet. But imagination, like regenerative thinking and practices, will be crucial for the advisor of the future.

And we'll be discussing that next week, along with all of the details about our new course that starts April 25. If you haven't signed up for that info . . .

Be kind, be grateful, be well.

bottom of page