3 ways to assist clients with yearly responsible holiday spending

December 1, 2016 by Erik Ortega

a close-up of someone holding a bag of holiday gifts

About the author:

Erik Ortega

Account executive

Erik's focus is on empowering advisors to drive productivity and profitability with our tools, strategies, and resources. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Business and former member of their Division I Men’s Soccer Program. Prior to working at Advicent, he spent 5 years in banking and has since decided to pursue helping advisors improve their practices through technology solutions.

The holiday season is upon us. It is time for creating lasting memories of joy and togetherness, spending time with friends and family members, and of course holiday-themed drinks at coffeehouses. It is also time for spending hard-earned money on gifts to show your love and affection for those close to you. Although a seemingly inevitable tradition, there are ways to get creative without breaking the bank.

Practicing responsible spending during the holidays

As a financial advisor, you have an opportunity to add value to your client relationships by providing some tips and tricks to help curb the holiday spending.

1. Set a strict budget during the holidays and all year-round.

If you have not already discussed and set a monthly budget for your client, this is a perfect time to do so. Not all clients even know how much they spend in a given month, but there are still ways of helping them spend less this holiday season. Credit cards will often break up transactions into categories so clients can see where most of their money is being spent. This can be a deterrent when they notice most of their money is spent at at a coffeehouse or the local pub. Another option would be purchasing a client portal and account aggregation tool for your practice that allows your clients to monitor all of their spending and create budgets for themselves — including a holiday gift budget. For some of your younger clients far from retirement and more focused on cash flow, this is a great way to engage them and provide value.

2. Set up automatic deposits to save for the holiday season.

Although it is too late to save for this year’s holiday season, why not persuade your clients to start saving in January for the 2017 holiday season? A simple way to budget and accumulate the necessary funds is by “setting and forgetting.” Help clients set up an account and have their employer’s direct deposit split a portion into a holiday spending account. Just as you encourage your clients to save to their 401K, this is a great way to put cash aside for more short-term needs.

3. Suggest taking part in a Secret Santa exchange rather than buying gifts for everyone.

This is something my family and I tried last year, and it went over quite well. If you have a large family that sometimes includes close friends as well, this method of gift giving only requires everyone to purchase one present. A key to making this work, however, is determining a spending limit (e.g. $25-50). Of course, the little ones still get their presents from Santa, but the adults save a lot of money and are still able to take place in the excitement of gift giving.

Do not let your clients’ finances get in the way of what is really important to them. Planning just a bit can make a big difference and drastically reduce any stress related to spending during the holiday season.

Click here to learn more about how the Narrator® Clients portal from Advicent helps keep clients engaged with their finances and can help monitor spending during the holidays.