How to Work with Foreign-Born Families - Part 2

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Part 1 of this series addressed some of the financial challenges that foreign-born families deal with when it comes to personal finance in the U.S.

Today, I discuss cultural and technical challenges and ideas that will lead to a successful client relationship when working with this group of great clients.

When working with any prospect or client, you should respect them and their background.

This is more critical when working with foreign-born families. Spend the time upfront to understand their values, their story, and what’s driving them. Pay special attention to what they consider important.

The source of their money scripts is completely different from yours, especially if they moved to this country as adults. Don’t be surprised by some of their stated goals, especially if they sound very different from your other prospects.

For example, a lot of immigrants who came to this country to go to school expect and welcome being their parent’s retirement plan.

For those individuals, it’s a goal they intend to meet one way or the other. The best thing you can do is work with them.

Foreign-born individuals coming to this country to pursue higher education tend to be among the best and brightest in academic achievements.

It’s a little jarring for them when they realize how little they understand about the financial system in the U.S. They are probably sensitive about their lack of understanding of what’s supposed to be common knowledge.

They have a fear of being judged.

Be empathetic, ask a lot of questions, and assure them that their lack of knowledge in the space is normal.

Be prepared to be a student, and don’t bring any misconceptions or talk about stereotypes you’ve heard about their specific country. Plan to ask lots of questions to understand them completely.

If the individual is coming from a country with a weak or non-functioning financial system, they are likely to be very cautious; your approach should be geared towards education first with a healthy dose of empathy.