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Category: Sales · 5 min read

3 Different Ways Your Clients Handle Their Money

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on October 3, 2019

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on October 3, 2019

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Money is a sensitive subject. Even though your clients are coming to you for financial help, they may initially be reluctant or nervous to talk about their financial situation. They may be afraid of what you’ll say or what you’ll think of them.  

But, as a professional in the financial industry, it’s part of your job to help your clients overcome their reluctance and get them to share their current financial situation and future goals.  

To do that, you have to make them feel at ease and create an environment that feels open and safe. One way to do that is to tread lightly into the money conversation by asking them about their spending habits. Are they a saver or a spender?  

When you ask that, they usually will answer in a way that reveals their savings personality. They may be rigid about building a savings, take a balanced approach to spending and saving, or be resistant to saving. Knowing your client’s spending style can help you better put them at ease and serve them. Let’s go through each one.  

Knowing your client’s spending style can help you better put them at ease and serve them.

1. Rigid 

First, there are the penny-pinchers. The strict and self-controlled. The savers. Clients with this spending style save every dime and know every dime in their accounts. They are rigid in their spending habits and are organized in their budgets.  

These savers are also more likely to have an idea of what kind of retirement accounts or plan they want to put their money into. They may even have already started doing some planning on their own, or at least have some basic knowledge of different retirement accounts. They may have a large amount of money in savings, but few investments. They don’t make many big-ticket purchases or go on many vacations or have a big house, and they live within their means.  

Because they save, they’re also more likely to be more prepared for retirement when it comes to their finances. They may have quite a bit of money saved up, enough to live comfortably in retirement (with some planning help from you).  

Right away, if they tell you they’re a devoted saver, they may be ready to turn their savings into a solid retirement strategy. So, treat them that way, but encourage them to keep saving. Depending on the age of your client, they fall into one of these generations: Baby boomers, Gen X, and millennials. Here’s where each of them generally are at in regards to saving for retirement: 

  • Baby boomers: Only 55% of Baby Boomers have retirement savings. Of the 45% that don’t have any money saved, almost half of them used to.1 
  • Gen X: 77% of Gen Xers are saving for retirement. However, the average amount saved is only $66,000, which won’t go far in retirement.2 
  • Millennials: 25% of millennials who expect to retire between ages 66 and 75 have no retirement savings account.3 

Bottom line: Help the savers see beyond their savings. Show them the benefits of putting their retirement savings into products like an annuity, where their savings can accumulate and be there when they retire.   


2. Balanced 

Then there’s the type of person who’s both a saver and spender, depending on the day. They save quite a bit, but they spend more than a typical saver. You could say they have a healthy balance of both.  

This balanced-approach client may be harder to pin down than the other two types. Usually, they lean one way more than the other, between saving and spending. So, ask them a little more about their money habits. If they had a choice, would they rather buy a new car, or save that money for retirement? Try to get them to lean one way or the other. Balanced clients usually take modest vacations and occasionally make big purchases.  

It’s not a bad thing to be balanced. In fact, having clients that operate this way can be very well off in retirement, if they are frugal in their big purchases, but treat themselves to little things every now and then. These people may be close to having enough money for retirement, but might just need a little encouragement to shift them over slightly into the saving camp.  

Showing them how saving more and putting what they do have into savings could positively impact their future retirement income is one way to help balanced clients. Since their finance habits are balanced, they likely will want their retirement accounts to be balanced, too. They may want some accounts to be riskier than others, and some to grow at a fixed amount. So, give them both kinds of options.  


3. Resistant 

The third and final type of money habit is someone that definitely needs to be guided further into the saving camp. This is the person that’s resistant to saving money. In fact, they hardly save anything at all. These are the spenders. When they have money in their bank account, it doesn’t last long. These resisters have the funds to save, but they choose not to, or they do so very reluctantly. They take a lot of exotic vacations, buy new cars frequently, live in a large house, and are regularly making large purchases, because they can.  

This mindset may be more prominent than you think: Almost 40% of older households are spending more than they’re making.4 They’re resisting their spending limits and going beyond their income.  

Help your resistant-to-saving clients see the benefit of saving rather than spending. Help them see that saving now can help them live the life they want in retirement. Help them see the damage that spending beyond their means can have on their future. But, with that, be positive. Explain to them that it’s not too late to change their habits and adopt a saving mindset. There’s still time to save.

Help them see that saving now can help them live the life they want in retirement. 

You may have noticed a trend in all of this: the theme that runs through all of this is encouraging your prospects and clients to keep saving and save more. No matter what their specific view of money is, saving and planning is the key to an enjoyable retirement. Start the saving and spending conversation, and then guide them from there. Help them open up about their finances, and you’ll be able to better meet their needs.  



1. Insured Retirement Institute. “Boomer Expectations for Retirement 2019.” Page 3. 2019. 

2. Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies. “What is ‘Retirement’? Three Generations Prepare for Older Age.” Apr. 2019.  

3. Loudenback, Tanza. “Millennials are delusional about the future, but they aren’t the only ones.” Business Insider. Apr. 9, 2019. 

4. Rupe, Susan. “Nearly 40% Of Older Households Have Spending Issues: Study.” InsuranceNewsNet. Jul. 25, 2019. 


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Written By

Mark Williams

President and CEO

Mark Williams is the President/CEO of Brokers International. Over his more than 25 years of financial services experience, Mark has been both a producing independent agent in the field and a home office leader consulting to agencies and field marketing organizations. Currently, Mark is focused on the future of the insurance industry, from the disruptions of InsurTech and robo-advisors to the changing demographics and needs of customers. He also is an avid mentor, helping financial professionals navigate the industry.

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