Among fpPathfinder’s members, customizable checklists are one of the most frequent new feature requests we receive. Most commonly, the advisor either wants to control which questions the client sees (and eliminate certain questions they deem as irrelevant or unnecessary) or edit the existing questions to be more specific to their existing understanding of a client’s situation. After all, the advisor often knows the client’s situation well enough that asking a basic question with an obvious answer feels uncomfortable. For example, when the advisor’s long-time client is retired, the advisor wants to remove the questions that apply to clients who are still working.
Listening and responding to member suggestions is a core value of fpPathfinder. Just as our members are diligent, we are deliberate. In that spirit, we are taking the time to fully evaluate this feature request to understand the implications.
The original intent of our checklists was to focus on resources that could be used broadly. They are generic by design, to cover various client scenarios, and therefore will inevitably contain some questions that do not apply to every client circumstance. The advisor is uniquely situated to apply the concepts to each client, individually. This is the value and skill that the advisor can bring to the relationship. Our goal was and remains to help advisors ensure that they are diligent and don’t accidentally miss anything along the way. (After all, if we always remembered 100% of the questions to ask, we wouldn’t need checklists in the first place)!
When researching checklists, we looked to healthcare for inspiration. Regardless of the surgical procedure, medical teams use checklists for every procedure and ask the same questions, including the simple question that verifies the patient’s name. While that seems like a basic question, the answer can help avoid a mix-up that can come from a last-minute rescheduling.
fpPathfinder’s checklists are designed to function in the exact same way. The questions are there for a reason, and even the best advisors — just like surgeons — can slip up from time to time (which, again, is why checklists are so effective).
Also, the checklists are designed to offer advisors a systematized opportunity to ask all the questions that uncover the information clients may have forgotten to share. They may not have thought updating an estate plan, taking on a part-time job, or refinancing a mortgage were ‘material’ updates. In some cases, the advisor may have forgotten something important, or even made an incorrect assumption, which could lead to missed planning opportunities and/or misinformed guidance based on out-dated information.
Since we started, the fpPathfinder team has made listening to our members — and then building those features and resources — a high priority. There is a whole section of the site that asks members to submit and vote on the resources they want. Member suggestions have also led us to develop feature enhancements, including white labeling, one-click downloads, interactive checklists, and the ability to share a link to the interactive checklist with a client.
Thank you for being part of the fpPathfinder community. We value your input and look forward to evolving the resources to exceed your expectations.