Narrative Before Numbers

Written by: Jeff Thomas

In my blog “The Three Mega-Trends in the Wealth Management Business”, I made the case that three important things need to happen in this industry:

  • The Business Needs to Grow Up—the industry needs to move from a manipulative product sales model to a real professional services model;

  • Narrative Before Numbers—clients’ stories need to be heard and understood before the charts and graphs start flying; and

  • The Need for a New Culture—the industry is rife with conflicts of interest that need to be cleaned up.

We are going to unpack #2 “Narrative Before Numbers” in this article.


One of our team’s favorite questions for clients is:

“What is one of your first memories about money from when you were growing up?”


Sometimes it takes awhile to process an answer to that question, but what gets said is always revealing.


One answer I once heard was:

“One of my first memories of money is a vivid slow-motion scene I’ll never forget.  I was about 10 years old and I was sitting on the couch with my eight-year-old brother.  That, by itself, wasn’t so unusual, of course.  What was unusual was that the couch was on our front lawn.  As we were sitting there, I remember seeing one of my classmates, in the back seat of his parents’ car, pointing and laughing at us.  You see, we had been kicked out of our third rental house for falling behind on the rent.  I will never put my children through that humiliation.”


All I could say when I heard that was “Wow”.

Do you think that story might possibly influence how we plan for his families’ financial future?  Yeah, me too!

Our industry loves the “X’s and O’s” of planning and investments.  (At Archetype, we love it, too.)  However, we have a culture and platform that allows us to be on our clients’ agenda 100% of the time.


Our mission is to help families thrive across generations by connecting their money with their purpose.  We can’t do that unless we first understand where they came from and then try to help them unpack where they want to go.  We enjoy process capturing a family’s narrative so that we can do a better job of connecting their past with a plan for the future.






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Jeff Thomas is the Founder/CEO of Archetype Wealth Partners. He has assembled an amazing team to provide an open architecture, fee-only (fiduciary) platform that offers a wide variety of investment choice to clients. Archetype exists to help families thrive across generations.


Disclaimer: Our intent in providing this material is purely for informational purposes, as of the date hereof, and may be subject to change without notice. This article does not intend to constitute accounting, legal, tax, or other professional advice. Visitors and readers should not act upon the content or information found here without first seeking appropriate advice from a trusted accountant, financial planner, lawyer or other professional.

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