A New Designation for Our Advisor Team — BFA™

Steve Lear |

We often joke about “all the letters” following many of our advisors’ names. But each designation represents time and effort spent honing their craft. The latest letters you may have noticed are BFA™, representing certification in Behavioral Financial Advice.

While the BFA™ designation is fairly new, the concept is something our advisors have been practicing for many years. Both our goal-oriented financial planning and our disciplined investment strategy are direct results of Behavioral Finance concepts.

A main focus of the BFA™ training is helping clients make better financial decisions. To help with this, our advisors learned a tool called the Alignment Model. The Alignment Model shows the relationship between our Ideal Self and our Real Self.

Our Ideal Self includes our principles, values, and beliefs. Our Real Self includes our thoughts, feelings, and actions. By practicing self-awareness, and recognizing the differences between our Ideal Self and our Real Self, we can create goals to help bring the two into alignment. The Alignment Model provides our advisors with a framework to help clients with goal-oriented financial planning that is in alignment with their principles, values, and beliefs.

Another tool our advisors learned in their BFA™ training is the four Rs. The four Rs — Recognize, Reflect, Reframe, and Respond — is a decision-making process, which aims to make better decisions by taking highly-charged emotions out of the equation. Using the four Rs helps us:

  • Recognize our thoughts, emotions, and physical experience
  • Reflect on the big picture and our Ideal Self
  • Reframe our self-talk to avoid responding to highly-charged emotions
  • Respond with a decision consistent with our Ideal Self

Our advisors can use the four Rs to help clients when they are experiencing stress that threatens to derail them from their financial objectives. This stress might be from personal issues they are experiencing, or from headlines heralding imminent catastrophe. Either way, by using the four Rs to guide the decision-making process, we can help keep clients focused on their investment objectives and not waiver from our disciplined investment strategy.