Behavioral Finance

How to reveal client core values

You can help investors gain a deeper self-awareness

If your clients are stressed out by both finances and the future, they’re far from alone. And as clients face uncertainty, emotions can sometimes get in the way of rational decision-making. One way you can help your clients make fact-based, rational decisions is by clarifying their personal core values. When investment decisions align with core values, clients can feel more empowered and confident, and experience less fear and stress in uncertain times.

How the values card exercise works

Use this virtual card-sorting exercise to guide clients through the process of identifying, articulating and prioritizing their most closely held core values — or you can or give them information on how to complete the exercise on their own, and then share their results with you.

Ask your client to split the deck into two categories: the most appealing values from the deck in one stack and values that resonate least in the other. Clients can create their own individualized value cards to describe unique principles they don’t see among the options.

Next, allow your client to follow the simple elimination process to prioritize their top core values. They should discard values cards to pare down their selections to 15, then 10, then five core values.

Those final five core values can serve as a starting point for planning strategies — and as a frame of reference for decision-making in times of uncertainty.

Keep in mind that values change over time, and encourage your clients to revisit the exercise and review their core values in the future as their circumstances and perspectives may change.