Tony Chan, Founder of Crossroads Planning, and the Toughest Question He’s Heard

Being a financial advisor isn’t easy. Money is the leading cause of stress for Americans, according to the American Psychological Association, and financial advisors are on the frontlines of that battle.

But no two clients are the same, and every day poses new challenges. We asked some of the best and brightest financial advisors from around the country to share the toughest questions they hear and reveal how they ensure they are helping to position their clients for long-term success.

This month, we talked to Tony Chan of Crossroads Planning in Southern California.


His short answer? “Yes, we can.” Here’s why:

“I increasingly deal with a lot of younger clients who grew up in a world of instant gratification. But it’s not just limited to them anymore. These days even older generations are more tech savvy. People now just expect to get what they want, when they want it. And that extends to financial advisors.

“A lot of my clients want more of a one-stop shop. They are tired of going to multiple people for their advising, for their taxes, for their retirement planning or whatever else. And we have to offer more and more, and do it faster than the industry did in the past. And that’s not going to change anytime soon.

“A lot of clients don’t understand or care about the difference between financial planning and tax consultations. So we provide both, because at the end of the day you need to provide a better customer experience for your clients than they would get from other platforms. If not, they will go to those platforms. It’s that simple. It’s a very tough task, but a great opportunity for human advisors to show why they are special.

“Advisors have to do more to compete with all the technological forces and challenges that continue to grow. We can’t be threatened. You have to demonstrate a mastery of technology as well as constantly be able to show how you can enhance it with the value of the human touch. How we as advisors combine technology with our knowledge will be key to the health of our industry. If we fall behind, it will spell trouble.

“That means embracing things like the cloud, which is a huge opportunity for advisors. We are headed toward a total cloud-based environment. If you back up everything to the cloud, you can work from everywhere all the time. And that is invaluable.

“More than anything it means really being in tune with your clients, their lives and their individual challenges. It’s hard work. But if you really care about your clients, and do right by them, it’s tremendously rewarding.”