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KISS Rule: Keep It Simple Planners!

Jae young Yang - CFP KoreaBy Jaeyoung Yang, CFP

The KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!) rule is a communication strategy used in advertising. The philosophy of the KISS rule in advertising is to encourage people to make a purchase with direct, simple messages that are easily understood. Most well-known speakers use this rule to make their messages clear and moving.

These days, people are using non-traditional communication channels such as texting, email or social media. When using these channels, they use quick, to-the-point messages demonstrating the power of simplicity.

A financial planning proposal is compiled by a network of professionals and experts and typically includes a variety of content such as law, accounting, tax, economic, statistic, insurance, and psychological material. In other words, a financial planning proposal is not easy to understand for the common consumer. The risk of a consumer not being able to understand professional jargon and documents is that they will become overwhelmed and decide to work with someone else. It is the financial planner’s job to summarize the proposal in simple terms and descriptions to help the consumer understand and feel comfortable with the material.

A financial planner is demonstrating a lack of experience and empathy when they deliver an overly complex plan or proposal and some clients might become skeptical of working with these planners. Thus, it is necessary for financial planners to understand the level of knowledge the client has, and match their output to the client. This does not mean that the proposal should lack substance. A successful proposal should allow clients opportunities to make better choices when it comes to their finances.

The complexity of financial products varies greatly, with some being easily understood and others being brand new and very complicated. There is no dilemma with the simple products but when a financial planner comes across a complex product that their client is struggling to understand, they should think twice. Financial planners need to contemplate whether the product is suitable for achieving the client’s financial goals. If the product is a good fit, then the planner should spend the necessary time/resources to help the client understand the product, so that they can make an informed decision for themselves.

With the recent growth of technology and social media, communicating in a direct, simple manner has rapidly become an important skill. Financial planners staying on top of the trends need to develop their “KISS ability” with regard to particular issues in financial planning.


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