Uncovering Client Motivations: 5 Needs Discovery Questions for Advisors

Kayla Adams

In a recent Financial Planning article, The 5 most revealing questions advisors can ask their clients, four financial advisors were asked to share their favorite questions that help them better understand client behaviors. As a fintech company that serves financial institutions and their advisors, we found the results to be very insightful and aligned to what we hear from our partners. Here’s a brief overview of what the advisors shared:

1) “What is your earliest memory of money?”

Many times, an individual’s financial biases can date back to a very early age. Advisors can often assess their clients risk aversion and relationship with money based on childhood memories.

2) “When is money ever a source of joy?”

This is a great question to help advisors discover client priorities and reveal any reluctance clients may have with money.

3) “How do you like to spend your days?”

Advisors can uncover details about client values and motivations by asking this question – and should use this as an opportunity to collaborate on a plan to achieve those goals. You can add some color by asking, “How would you spend your days if you could do anything?”

4) “What's your finish line?”

Establishing a clear goal, or dollar amount, allows clients to dream and truly envision their financial end-goal. Advisors can take it a step further by asking, “What would you do and how would you act once your goal is achieved?”

5) “…And what else?”

Financial advisors shouldn’t be shy to press for more information or clarification when needed. Keep this question handy when a client appears to be too intimidated to open up or if you’re discussing an emotional topic. The most important aspect of this question is to be sure to listen!


When given the opportunity, open-ended and thought-provoking questions can help both reveal and prioritize an advisor and investor’s time and efforts.

SigFig Digital Advice Pro is an advisor-led financial investment platform that modernizes advice delivery by connecting typically fragmented workflows, so we know all about the importance of communication and advice delivery. We invite you to explore the ways you can harness Digital Advice Pro to elevate your needs discovery and hybrid advice delivery. Schedule time with us.

Check out the full article from Financial Planning here.

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