Over the coming weeks, I’ll be sharing marketing success stories from the many advisors I meet and speak with as I travel the country, attending events and conducting Thought Leader Round Tables.

If you are doing something in the way of marketing, public relations, social media and online visibility, or have perfected a sure-fire method for generating quality introductions, I’d like to hear from you -- and I’m offering a $360 prize to the top three contributors. Details here: http://www.MarieSwift.com.

Here’s a marketing strategy that works for financial advisors and allied professionals who are interested in serving families with significant wealth. While this strategy works especially well for that demographic, the truly HNW, I believe there are also applications for advisors who serve the middle-market millionaire and mass affluent.


I caught up with a CFP named Cameron Thornton while at the Annual Meeting of The Heritage Institute in Portland last week. A graduate of the University of Southern California, Cam earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of La Verne.  He has also served his nation as an officer in the United States Navy. 

Cameron told me how he is generating new business and stronger relationships with clients by positioning himself as “The Heritage Planning Professional” in his community.

Cameron understands that the concerns closest to our hearts are not always addressed in the course of the traditional planning that most people complete.  With a focus on building multigenerational relationships, Cam helps people keep the promises they have made to themselves.  He asks “What is the measure of a good life?” Although responses vary, he hears that the long-term unity and health of their family, and the success of organizations they support are at the top of their list when they consider their personal legacy.  Cameron guides clients using a guided discovery protocol honed during the past 28 years that leads to the development of a unique family governance process. 


Instead of leading with “I’m a financial planner” or “I help people make better decisions about their money and their lives” (things you might say now), imagine if you could say something like this:

“I’m a Heritage Planning Professional. I help families create and implement a plan that captures and sustains their wealth over multiple generations. I’m not just talking about financial assets – investments, real estate, collectables, and the like. I’m talking about the real treasure in your life – your values, your philosophies, your principles and your most important life lessons – your real treasure, the things that matter most.”

By now, the listener is usually showing signs of interest and nods for you to go on.

“I help families build deeper connections and mutual understanding by implementing the tools and methodologies I learned not just as a financial planner and investment advisor for the past 28 years but having also studied for many years at The Heritage Institute, the nation’s premier training and research organization focused on creating sustainable wealth and unified families over multiple generations.”

“Yes, I see. Go on,” the listener says.


“My partners and I established Navigator Legacy Partners LLC and have embraced The Heritage Process as the foundation for the financial planning and estate planning work we do with our clients because we saw too many families implode when the family was not prepared in advance of an inheritance event. It’s pretty shocking that only 10% of families with significant wealth see that wealth last beyond the third generation. I’m committed to increasing the 10%.”

“Yes, I’ve heard that statistic, too,” the prospective client says. “Shocking.”

“We start with personal Guided Discovery, a unique process developed by The Heritage Institute, to get to know you and capture what matters most to you – your big dreams and desired outcomes. We then create a Heritage Statement that articulates in writing – and sometimes in audio and video mediums, if desired -- your most cherished values and goals for your family.”

“You mean I could actually give my family a written statement of my vision, values and goals – or to have something recorded, if my spouse and I agreed on that,” the listener asks.

“Yes, absolutely. We’d work all that out,” says The Heritage Professional.


“Some families even ask us to create and orchestrate a family Heritage Day as a way to, one, conduct professionally-guided exercises that build family unity and trust, and two, so that they have a properly focused setting in which to communicate their desired outcomes and the inheritance plan. The last one I conducted with one of my client families was at Disney’s California Adventure Park. It was a glorious and wonderful day for that family.”

“What a great idea,” the listener says. “You know, we have a cabin just outside of Big Bear Lake where we like to gather as a family.”

“Yes, that would work, too,” The Heritage Professional says with a nod.

“Some families ask us to continue on the journey with them – and to me it is a sacred journey, indeed. We will help the family create pre-inheritance experiences so that the next generation can practice working together, in a harmonious way, while mom and dad are still around to see a productive process and good outcomes. We will sometimes help our clients create a Family Council or a Family Foundation – both of which help create good family governance according to the parent’s Heritage Statement and desired outcomes. Ideally, we serve as a professional consultant and collaborative member on the family’s team of advisors, even after mom and dad are gone.”

“Yes, I can see how having a trusted advisor as the point person would be a good idea,” the listener says. “I imagine you have your own succession plan in place so there could at some point be a baton pass there, as well,” the successful business owner says.


“My work with my clients does sometimes focus on the money, the investments, the wills and trusts, and legal and tax issues. We do, of course, want to create a plan that will create the path of greatest good, according to the wealth creators’ desired outcomes – and I am happy to work with your existing financial, legal, and accounting team. What matters is that we help the family capture and preserve their real treasure – the things they cherish most – and usually that has very little to do with the money and everything to do with family, honor, love, integrity, faith and leadership."

“So, in a nutshell, that’s what I do. I’d be happy to send you a white paper on Sustaining Family Wealth and Unity Across Generations, or a copy of What Matters -- a novel co-authored by Rodney Zeeb, the estate planning attorney who co-founded The Heritage Institute, and Cameron Thornton, a fellow Heritage Professional, if that would be of interest to you. And there’s a great 27-minute video of Rod explaining the essential elements that create a successful, multigenerational family preservation plan – you can find it online at www.TheHeritageInstitute.com/video.html. But enough about me. Tell me about you and what’s important to you…”


This fall, I’ll be speaking at or attending a number of conferences. To find out how you can catch up with me, visit http://www.MarieSwift.com.


Finally, I have started posting the videos I recorded while in San Diego for the FPA National Conference during my Twitter Live with Industry Thought Leaders session. The first few video clips are up on the site now. Participants included: Ron Lieber, Geoff Davey, Dave Hubbard, Sheryl Garrett, Stephanie Bogan, Deborah Fox, John Brackett, Bob Veres, Michael Kay, Ed Jacobson, Darryl Celkupa, Cameron Thornton and Kevin Condon. Go here to watch now: http://www.fpatwitterlive.blogspot.com


Marie Swift is a nationally recognized consultant who has for more than 20 years worked exclusively with some of the industry’s top financial institutions, training organizations, investment advisory and financial planning firms. Her “Best Practices in the Financial Services Industry” blog provides additional insights and advice. Find it at http://www.marieswift.com/. Get breaking news at www.twitter.com/marieswift or connect with her via Facebook or LinkedIn.