Your four-factor profile is compared with 16 prototypical profiles. Massie has written a 12-page report describing each of the 16 prototypical profiles. You are provided with a report based on the prototypical profile that best matches the pattern formed by your four dots on the grid. The report provides analysis of your personality characteristics and behavior in terms of your strengths, struggles, investing style, financial fears, communication style and more (Figure 2).

The Path 6 report provides a more direct assessment of your financial personality. It shows scores for each of the six personality traits measured in this assessment and describes your personality in greater detail based on your scores. For instance, say that you get a score of 63 in measuring whether you are dominant versus compliant. Since that would indicate you are a fairly dominating personality, you would be further described as blunt, assertive and independent in the report. Such details are provided based on your scores for all six factors. In addition, a section describing your ideal investing environment describes the type of advisory relationship that would work best for you, and further details are provided on your scores for each of the six factors.

Personality Financial Planning

Personality assessments are not completely new to financial advisors. Myers-Briggs, Enneagrams, and Kolbe assessments have been administered for years by a small group of advisors as an aid in hiring new employees. Financial DNA, however, is different because it is the most comprehensive set of assessment tools created to help advisors in serving their clients. Understanding a client's financial personality can have an important impact in the way you relate to a client and the advice you provide.  

"People who are more outgoing, extroverted people like to be seen to look good," says Massie. "They like to have fun and want people to remember them. They like to be the center of attention and they like to be liked.

"Such individuals are more likely to spend money in restaurants, on clothes and on vacations. They are more lifestyle-oriented."

Massie contrasts such personality types with introverts. "Introverted people are more likely to be thinkers and live much more from within," says Massie. "They tend to be worried about 'Have I got enough?' and they have a lot less need for glamour. They're more likely leading a private life."
Financial DNA aims to identify not just gross personality characteristics, like extroversion, but more subtle ones, such as the way people think about financial problems. "If you know that somebody is unstructured, you aren't going to provide them with a lot of information," says Massie. "Whereas if they're structured, you're going to provide them with a lot of detail, and they won't trust you until you do that."

And that is where Financial DNA can allow an advisor to consider a client's personality in a financial planning engagement. "If the client is extroverted, you've got to make the whole process fun, engaging, lighthearted and entertaining," he says. "However, an introverted person does not want a long meeting. Knowing your client's Financial DNA lets you tailor the whole communication process and information flow, and it helps clients feel understood because you actually know what they instinctively want."

Perfect To Make A Practice

Financial advisors face the challenge of commoditization of their services. Technology makes it much easier to give a client advice on asset allocation, mutual funds and other key aspects of a financial plan. In fact, clients can get this advice directly from brokerages now with little or no help from a broker.

Financial DNA provides a system for differentiating your services. By delving deeper into a client's personality-specifically, the client's attitudes about money and the behaviors that are likely to result-you provide a human component to your advice that will be valued by clients. By asking a client to tell you about himself in a systematic fashion, you truly demonstrate a willingness to put the personal component in a personal financial plan.
Financial DNA is not just for any type of advisory firm, however. If you're not interested in providing financial planning services, then it is likely not for you. If your practice is geared to transaction-centered relationships, you don't need this tool. However, if you are interested in deeper client relationships, it could be a basis for creating a more thoughtful planning process.

Massie says advisors who are trying to transition from commissions to fee-based relationships with clients often find Financial DNA most helpful, which makes sense. Advisors making this transition must find a way to create different levels of service to clients. You may choose to provide Financial DNA assessments only to your "A" clients that pay you the most fees. Or perhaps you would reserve Financial DNA's most in-depth assessment tools for your most valued clients.