Recently my 37-year-old son, father of a precocious two-year-old boy, asked me how to motivate my grandson to get into Harvard! After the initial shock of such an audacious question, I realized his inquiry was more realistic than I first thought: How and why do we motivate anyone to do anything today?

A key role of financial planners is to motivate others, so the answers to these questions have profound implications-and deep rewards-for us. Much has been written on what motivates people. But the critical question for planners and managers is how do we develop the framework to help motivate our clients and staff in the right direction? The five important elements in this framework are developing the right culture, allocating the resources correctly, avoiding the marginal cost mistakes, creating the long-term strategy and realizing the right rewards.

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