What Money Matters Matter Most?

When it comes to money and finances, there are numerous areas any one individual could focus or find being a prevalent source of interest or concern for them. Google happens to know which ones appear to be top of mind thanks to their analytics on the most googled financial topics of 2019.

Here are the Most Googled Financial Topics by State and Washington, D.C.

Map of the United States and most googled financial questions

A few states had ties for what was most googled by residents in those states. Those are noted in the column on the right. Income taxes topped the search list for nearly half the states last year, which is actually a pretty high percentage. However, you might remember new tax laws took effect in 2019.

Insurance ranked first for 10 states, mostly in the southeast. Right behind that, you’ll see that mortgages were the most searched topic for 9 states. One thing to note is that about half of those states – Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Washington – are among the fastest growing states. It would stand to reason that an increase in population might mean more people buying homes.

The opposite ends of the parenting spectrum round out the next two – child care and college – both topics that have garnered media attention regarding how expensive they can be and the impact that has on the average American family.

A couple outliers include:

  • New York’s top search topic was estate planning. Of note is that millionaires live in New York City than anywhere else in the world, which could be why this rose to the top for this state.
  • Washington, D.C. didn’t have any single topic that rose to the top for them. In fact, they had five and four of them didn’t show up at the top of the list for any other state.

Looking at the 2019 search list compared to 2018’s Most Googled Financial Topics list shows some patterns. There are four topics that appear on both lists: mortgages, retirement, debt or debt consolidation and college or student loans. These topics could be considered as having some longer staying power as top areas of financial interest. They cover three distinct phases in adult life with debt being an overlay of those phases dependent upon individual circumstances.

So, how can this information be applied to a financial advisor’s business practices?

There’s an opportunity here for advisors to provide additional value to existing and potential clients by focusing on these topics. First, are these the kinds of conversations you are having with your clients?

Often, interactions with clients become isolated to what the current plan is and how their investments are performing. Expanding the conversation outside of that a bit might generate new opportunities for business. Consider adding some pointed questions regarding these topics to your meetings with your clients or simply ask them what other financial topics they are interested in learning more about.

Consider digging into the emotional aspect of some of these top searched topics. Ask your clients how they feel when tax time rolls around. How do they feel where they are with college financial planning? Have their goals or dreams or life situations changed? How about their parents’ or children’s? Are there new health concerns? Promotions? Travel dreams? Changes in retirement plans? Don’t assume your clients will think to share these things with you unless you have established a pattern of asking about them.

If you think your clientele would engage with it, you might create a quiz that you distribute in an email on a particular topic and then invite them to contact you to learn more and remind them how you can help them reach their financial goals. There are a number of quiz generators out there, Survey Monkey being one example. You might even decide to conduct your own survey to find out what money matters matter most to your existing clients.

Hosting events is another way to build relationships and establish yourself as an expert in your community. Consider collaborating with an insurance professional in your area to host a lunch and learn or workshop on the how different types of insurance can be integrated into an individual or family’s overall financial plans. You could contact a high school in your area and offer to sponsor a college planning seminar where you are able to network and perhaps establish potential new business relationships. You may even want to connect with your local chamber of commerce, if you are a member, and partner with them to host a financial wellness fair in your community where a group of financial services professionals can come together and provide specific information on a variety of topics.

Another way to establish your expertise in one or more of these areas would be to write some content on these topics. You will want to brand your content with your name and company name because after all, the point is to help existing and potential clients connect your name with being an expert in these areas. If you have a blog associated with your website, you can post your content there. Or you could craft a series of emails and send them to your client list. Be sure to spread them out to once a week or once a month, maybe incorporating the content in a newsletter you already distribute. This does require a compliance process. You might contact your broker-dealer to see if they have material already compliance approved on these specific topics that you can use during your conversations or include in your communications with your clients.

Do you think if you expanded into some of these areas you might be able to deepen your relationships with them? Would this build on your trust and rapport? If your clients see you as someone who is willing to go the extra mile and provide them extra information that makes them more financially fit and financially savvy this could reap benefits because they may be more willing to share with you which in turn, may help you better understand their goals and help them reach them.

(SOURCES: www.Trends.Google.com ; www.thinkAdvsiors.com ; www.WealthMangement.com ;  https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/slideshows/these-are-the-10-fastest-growing-states-in-america)

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