People want the professionals they hire to do things “with” them, not “for” them, and that is as true for the financial advisors they engage with as it is for other professionals, according to Burt White, a market strategist and financial industry leader who is chief strategy officer of Carson Group, a consulting and coaching firm for financial advisors.

Advisors would do well to understand that most people do not want to do their financial planning on their own, but they also do not want someone to take over completely: They want someone to work with them, White said during a presentation on the opening day of the Next Chapter 2022: Rockin’ Retirement virtual conference sponsored by Financial Advisor.

In a wide-ranging discussion moderated by Steve Gresham, CEO of the Execution Project, a consulting firm for financial companies, White gave advice on what it takes to be a success in the financial industry and the outlook for the market and the economy.

“For advisors, [success] is all about empathy, and knowing the family dynamics,” White said. “At the end of the day, advisors are going to feel pressure” about growing their businesses if they have not built out a network from the client to the client’s children.

In addition, advisors have to differentiate themselves. “There is a world of sameness out there.” You want to stand out, he added.

The financial industry itself is changing. “There is a greater need now than ever for financial advice delivered by an empathetic human,” White explained. This is a time when “the cost of advice is going lower but the value of advice has never been higher. We have to deliver advice cheaper and better than ever before.”

Technology is another leg for advisors seeking success to stand on. “But it is not about having great technology. It is about technology making you great.”

Other factors that are pushing the financial industry are individuals’ increase in net worth, which advisors will have to help clients manage, and the “great resignation” that is altering the look of many people’s retirement, he said.

In handling the greater level of wealth, advisors must realize people no longer want to wait until the end of their lives to distribute some of that money to others. “They want to see the results of giving that money away while they are alive.” These are all issues advisors will need to help clients manage, he said.

To handle a growing workload, White said advisors will need to “outsource, automate and eliminate.” Let others do some tasks; use technology to automate as much as possible. And eliminate the tasks that are unnecessary.

The market currently presents investors with a conundrum. “There has been a correction in both bonds and equities. There is no place to hide,” White said. “But the market will get back” to more normal times and “we will avoid a recession,” he added.