How Financial Advisors Deal with Conflicting External Advice

Financial decisions are often influenced by multiple sources, including family members, friends, and other trusted individuals.

While financial advisors aim to be the primary source of advice for their clients, they frequently encounter situations where clients bring in advice from other sources, which may or may not align with the advisor’s recommendations.

Below we look into how financial advisors can navigate these situations and ensure that their clients receive the best possible guidance.

The Human Tendency to Seek Multiple Opinions

Humans are inherently social creatures.

When making significant decisions, especially financial ones, it’s common for individuals to seek advice from various sources.

This behavior is not limited to the financial realm; even in the medical field, patients are often encouraged to seek second opinions.

The underlying reason is that people feel more confident about their decisions when they receive affirmation from multiple sources.

However, this can pose challenges for financial advisors, especially when the advice is from non-professional sources or if other professional sources conflict with their recommendations.

Nonetheless, financial advisory can be a bit different from the medical field in that family buy-in is often important.

Therefore, social dynamics often have to be considered.

Understanding the Source of External Advice

When clients bring in external advice, especially from family members or close friends, it’s important for advisors to approach the situation with respect and understanding.

For instance, if a client mentions a recommendation from a family member, the advisor should explore the reasoning behind that advice.

If the recommendation aligns with the client’s best interests, it might be worth considering.

However, if it doesn’t, the advisor should tactfully address the issue, ensuring the client understands the potential risks and benefits.

The Significance of Multiple Advice Sources

Clients often consult various sources when making financial decisions.

This behavior is not necessarily detrimental.

In fact, seeking advice from multiple sources can provide clients with a well-rounded perspective, helping them make more informed decisions.

Research has shown that investors often consult friends, family, banks, and financial professionals when making investment choices.

The key for advisors is to understand these influences and incorporate them into their advisory process.

Addressing Conflicting Advice

When clients present conflicting advice, it’s essential for advisors to handle the situation delicately.

Instead of outright rejecting the external advice, advisors should engage in a constructive conversation with the client.

By understanding the client’s perspective and the sources of their information, advisors can provide tailored advice that aligns with the client’s goals and values.

Incorporating External Advice into the Advisory Process

Financial advisors can benefit from understanding and incorporating the external advice their clients receive.

By initiating conversations about other sources of advice, advisors can gain insights into their clients’ decision-making processes.

This knowledge can help advisors tailor their recommendations, ensuring they align with the client’s values and preferences.

Q&A – Financial Advisors Dealing with Conflicting Advice from Friends & Family Members

1. Why do clients often seek advice from multiple sources, including family members?

Clients, being social creatures, often seek validation and support for their decisions.

It’s common for individuals to consult multiple sources, including family, friends, and professionals, when making significant decisions.

This behavior is not exclusive to financial planning; it’s observed in various fields, such as medicine.

2. Is it a negative reflection on the financial advisor if a client seeks advice elsewhere?

No. When clients seek advice from others, it doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of trust in their financial advisor.

In fact, gathering multiple opinions can help clients build confidence in their decisions, especially when various sources agree.

3. How should financial advisors approach a situation where a client brings in advice from a family member?

Advisors should approach such situations with respect and openness.

If a client mentions a recommendation from a family member, the advisor should consider the suggestion and see if it can be incorporated into the client’s plan.

If the advice is not in the client’s best interest, the advisor can explore the source of the advice and guide the client towards a better path.

4. What if the advice from a family member conflicts with the advisor’s recommendation?

In cases of conflicting advice, the advisor should initiate a conversation to understand the client’s perspective and the reasons behind the family member’s recommendation.

By discussing the pros and cons of each option, the advisor can help the client make an informed decision.

5. How can financial advisors ensure they remain the primary source of advice for their clients?

Advisors should proactively engage clients in discussions about other sources of financial advice they might be considering.

By understanding and acknowledging these external influences, advisors can tailor their recommendations to align with the client’s overall perspective and needs.

6. Is it beneficial for clients to rely on multiple sources of financial advice?

Yes. Consulting multiple sources can provide clients with a well-rounded understanding of their financial situation.

Different perspectives can offer unique insights, helping clients make more informed decisions.

7. How can financial advisors integrate advice from family members into a client’s financial plan?

Advisors can initiate conversations to understand the client’s family dynamics and the significance of the advice provided by family members.

By acknowledging and respecting these external influences, advisors can create holistic plans that consider all aspects of the client’s financial life.

8. What should an advisor do if a client insists on following bad advice from a family member?

The advisor should discuss the potential risks and consequences of following such advice.

By presenting factual information and offering alternative solutions, the advisor can guide the client towards a more informed decision.

9. How can advisors build trust with clients who rely heavily on family members for financial advice?

Building trust requires open communication and understanding.

Advisors should encourage clients to share advice they receive from family members and discuss its implications.

By being receptive and respectful, advisors can strengthen their relationship with clients and position themselves as a trusted source of guidance.

10. What’s the key takeaway for financial advisors when dealing with clients who receive advice from family members?

The key is to recognize the significance of external influences in a client’s decision-making process.

By understanding, respecting, and integrating these influences, financial advisors can offer more comprehensive and tailored advice, ultimately benefiting both the client and the advisor.


Financial advisors play a pivotal role in guiding their clients.

While external advice from family members and other sources can sometimes pose challenges, it also offers opportunities for advisors to deepen their understanding of their clients and provide more holistic advice.

By approaching these situations with empathy, understanding, and open-mindedness, advisors can ensure that their clients receive the best possible guidance, regardless of external influences.


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