Client services are an integral part of any business. As a financial institution, guiding your clients through personal finance, money management, and budgeting goals can help you stand out. Whether it’s offering educational sessions or helping clients finance their children’s college through a savings account, there is great opportunity for financial institutions to provide clients with a higher level of support and in turn, build a lasting client relationship.
One of the biggest financial stresses your clients might face is wedding costs. The most recent Real Weddings Study published annually by Knot.com reported that the average wedding cost has skyrocketed to $29,858, the costliest figure in the history of the study. Brides and grooms are reportedly spending more than ever to provide their guests with memorable experiences and sparing no expense to do so. So, how do couples finance such a lavish shindig? With the average engagement lasting just 14 months, they are not left with much time to raise the funds – over $2,130 per month to save for an all cash wedding.
There is a good deal of opportunity for FIs to offer services and products to help brides, grooms and their families finance a wedding. So, where do you fit in?
1. Guide families through setting a budget – Talking about money, especially with family members, can be difficult, so it’s important to encourage your clients to create a working budget for their wedding with all parties involved. Make sure you know what the average wedding cost is in your area and you’re your clients develop a realistic wedding budget worksheet. For example, in New York City the average cost is just shy of $87,000 but in Idaho, the average cost is closer to $16,000.
2. Guide them in creating a plan for how to finance – Once you know what they’d like to spend, help them devise a plan of how much cash they can come up with and whom plans to pay for what. A recent study by Wedding Report on how families fund weddings reported that 1 in 3 couples covered wedding expenses with a credit card, 7 percent got a new credit card for wedding expenses, and 9 percent took out a loan. This may also be an opportunity for you to discuss any savings, lending, and insurance products you offer that could be helpful. Couple could benefit from opening a savings or money market account to use as their wedding fund and discussing opening up joint accounts together in the future.
3. Help them track and adjust savings and spending – After your clients have their wedding financial plan and buy-in by all involved parties, encourage the couple to check in with you periodically, maybe once a month, to track their progress toward savings. They will appreciate the expertise and guidance to adjust their budget where necessary and help them trim costs.
Becoming your clients’ trusted wedding financial advisor can be the beginning of a beautiful relationship with a family. If you can help your clients reduce the financial stress it’s a great way to reinforce a lasting relationship.
Tell us, do you offer any types of services to help your clients through a life event such as weddings? Has it created opportunities to build a lasting client relationship?
Jeanne Kelly is an author, a speaker, and a widely sought-after credit coach. Jeanne has become one of the country’s foremost authorities on credit, credit reports, and credit scores. Jeanne Kelly is the author of two books, she has appeared on The Today Show, The Lisa Oz Show, Blogs for Huffington Post, Credit.com and her advice has helped thousands of people around the US to build stronger, healthier credit.