Please Bring A DNA Sample To Your Next Financial Planning Meeting

Financial planners may someday want a client’s DNA sample before proceeding.

I found this article in The Atlantic.  The Willpower Gene  Its thesis is that the ability to save may have a significant genetic component.  If so, would a financial advisor not be well served to find out ahead of time?  Knowing more fundamental facts about your clients is a worthy pursuit.

Every parent hopes their children will be wise with money.  Thus the allowance and the learning how to manage it thing.  But, does that work?  A wise question that comes out of the article, is “Are parents trying to teach something that cannot be taught?”

A worthy thought.

By the same token, are advisors assuming that everyone has the same propensity to save.  Should they be looking at other aspects?  Are there mitigating methods for those with the genetic predisposition to spend first?

More important still, the article raises public policy questions around how pensions and other savings should be addressed.  If the playing field for saving is not level, how should the rules accommodate that?

As you will see in the article and the paper it is based upon, the science is a long way from certain.  Nonetheless, it might be an interesting detail to consider as you design a plan.  Maybe a review of the current client base and the success they have with savings.

I wonder if this disability is eligible for government support.

Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. Contact:  

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