Advice That Sticks: How to give financial advice that people will follow
Dr Moira Somers is a neuropsychologist and financial change expert led a workshop for GAIA members,
based on her book, ‘Advice That Sticks: How to give financial advice that people will follow’.
As a leading practitioner in the field of financial psychology, a professor and executive coach, her talk and
work cover the problem of unimplemented financial counsel.
So often, the wisdom of a professional advisor is sound; the client seems eager; and then… nothing
happens! Consumers know they need to do things differently with respect to their money but are often
dismayed and baffled by their own self-sabotaging habits.
When good recommendations go unimplemented, clients’ well-being is compromised, their future goals and
opportunities are lost, and the professional relationship grows strained. What causes this impasse and
what can professional advisers do to help clients move forward?
Dr Somers discussed the five main factors that determine whether a client will follow through with financial
advice and the reasons behind non-adherence. Individual client psychology plays a role in non-adherence;
so, too, do sociocultural and environmental factors, general advice characteristics, and specific challenges
pertaining to the emotionally loaded domain of money.
Perhaps most surprising, however, is the extent to which advice-givers themselves can inadvertently foil
implementation. A great deal of non-adherence is due to preventable mistakes made by financial
professionals and their teams.
In particular what can be done to help clients at key transition points because when ‘life changes, money
changes and when money changes, life changes?’ What are the signs of mental depletion and where
does our clients mental energy go? How can professional advisers be better at creating lasting and
positive behaviour change.
The talk was full of fascinating practical wisdom for giving advice that people will actually follow.
Interestingly, Dr Somers concludes the best course of action is the one the client is ready for.