A Priceless Conversation is the perfect tool to conduct a brief but deeply meaningful conversation with your clients about the issues that are on their minds and in their hearts. It allows them to share the stories and life-wisdom that most define who they really are and what they most want to convey to those they love. It helps you, as their advisor, to create richly significant and appropriate plans for them and to offer more appropriate counsel.
Each of the 30 or so different Priceless Conversations comes in a complete tool kit. Each kit includes an introductory booklet, a questions booklet, a CD individualized with your client's name in a black leatherette CD case. All of this is packaged in a handsome black box and beautifully wrapped with an elastic gold ribbon ready to present to your clients. A summary of each of the many varieties of Priceless Conversations is given below.
To hear the inspiration for the creation of Priceless Conversations, and to get a sense of their impact, please listen to "So Nice to Hear Your Voice." Click below to hear how to turn a simple chat into a touching and lasting treasure. Using a handful of interesting questions and digital recorder, we help you share and save the lessons and experiences of your life. Hearing is believing!
Click below to hear how to turn a simple chat into a touching and lasting treasure. Using a handful of interesting questions and digital recorder, we help you share and save the lessons and experiences of your life. Hearing is believing!
ONLY SunBridge Network Advisors are authorized
to offer Priceless Conversations.
collection of Priceless Conversation topics
The SunBridge Story
By Andrew Gluck, Editor at Large, Financial Advisor Magazine
August 2007 Issue
When he was just eight years old, Scott Farnsworth’s mother died of cancer. “Just before she died, my mom gave my dad a letter and instructed him to give it to me when I turned 12,” says Farnsworth. “As you can imagine, that is one of the treasures in my life to this day.”
Farnsworth says the letter was written to a 12-year-old on the cusp of becoming a teenager. “She told me how to be a good person,” Farnsworth says. “She said that even though she couldn’t actually be there with me, that a part of her would be with me always.”
The letter helped shape Farnsworth not just personally but professionally: As an estate planner, Farnsworth has created SunBridge Legacy Builder Network, a service that trains advisors in a different style of estate planning. His mission is to allow people to experience what he did as a 12-year-old boy, to create estate plans that profoundly affect your heirs and reflect your values.
Farnsworth, an attorney and certified financial planner licensee, says he started the service after a client questioned him sharply about how his trusts were connected to the life he had lived. “I couldn’t really answer him,” he admits. “So that has been my journey for the last 12 years."
“We all have a larger wealth that goes beyond money and property. It includes the wisdom we acquired, the insights that have allowed us to make better decisions as we get older, and our heritage. When you add that in with money and property, then you pass along real wealth.”
The notion that estate planning must be more than the mechanics of GRATs, IDGTS and QTIPs is not new. What is fairly unique is the systematic campaign Farnsworth has created to allow financial advisors to integrate client values into estate plans.
It is not uncommon for a financial advisor to neglect the human side of estate planning. After all, it’s not as if this is a big part of the curriculum when you become a certified financial planner, certified public accountant, chartered financial analyst or any of the myriad other primary designations awarded to advisors. As a result, many, if not most, advisors are deficient at the “soft side” of estate planning.
(I don’t like calling it “soft,” by the way, since that implies that mechanics is the hard side of estate planning. In fact, it is much harder to develop the people skills to do values-based estate planning than to remember that a grantor trust avoids depleting an estate with taxes.) In failing to master these people skills, advisors are blowing a huge opportunity. After all, lawyers are going to be the ones to draw up estate planning documents. So you don’t need to know all the intricacies of every type of trust. You just need to master the basics. Where you can add value in a client engagement, however, is in integrating a client’s values into his or her estate plan. This is also a way of deepening your relationships with clients because the exchanges can be so personal and profound.
Farnsworth has created a series called “Priceless Conversations” in which an advisor presents a client with questions that inspire deep conversation. The series focuses on a range of topics, including your wisdom, values, stories, the meaning of success, the meaning of money and your children. (The full list of topics is available at www.SunBridgeLegacy.com.)
My wife and I spent about 40 minutes on the phone with Farnsworth to go through the “kids” conversation. I had interviewed him a day earlier and my wife had never previously spoken with him. I told my wife, Mindy, almost nothing about what we were doing, just that it was about our estate plan. I just gave her the one-page sheet of 12 questions Farnsworth had e-mailed me and asked her to spend some time thinking about the answers.
Despite the fact that we were not engaging Farnsworth, did not know him and were doing this all over the phone instead of in person, his questions about what we wanted for our kids if we were to die today propelled my wife and I into an emotion-filled conversation about 15-year-old Alison and 14-year-old Jason. We articulated our views on topics that we had never before actually spoken about, like the role of religion in our lives, what we wanted the guardians of our children to know and how we might be able to support our two children’s differing needs.
Some of the questions included:
- Please tell me a little about each of your children, especially the things you admire and appreciate about them and their talents and strengths.
What makes you proud to be their parents?
- What values, principles and life lessons would you most want to pass on to your children
if you could? What makes those things important to you? How will those things make a difference in their future happiness?
- In what religion or spiritual tradition have your children been raised?
How important is your religion or spiritual tradition to you and your family? What are your wishes regarding their future participation
in a religion or spiritual tradition?
- Are there specific people you have not named as guardians but you want to ensure that your children will maintain a relationship with?
By the time the conversation was done, Mindy and I had thought about ways that we could support our children’s different needs. Alison, an adventurer, could be given a travel stipend annually. Jason, a doer, could be treated to semi-annual visits with successful friends of mine who could become professional coaches. Money could be earmarked to fund memberships at places of worship and for education of the next generation.
By promoting a discussion about what is important to Mindy and me—and not just focusing on the mechanics of protecting our estate from taxes—the estate plan we devise can be focused on supporting our values, making the plan far more meaningful to my wife, myself and our children.
Farnsworth cites many such stories. There’s the divorced entrepreneur with three sons, who set up an advisory board that would assist her children if they ever wanted to start their own businesses. A devout Catholic, she also drafted an estate plan that provided funding for her children to visit sites of religious significance.
Farnsworth has fashioned a successful small business, which he runs from his home near Orlando, Florida, by coaching advisors to high-net-worth individuals. While he is of counsel to a law firm and still serves his own estate planning clients, his main pursuit these days is SunBridge. Farnsworth says that till now it has been attorneys who have embraced the program, but he hopes financial advisors will join the SunBridge Legacy Builder Network.
Farnsworth hosts quarterly two-day retreats, which typically draw 12 to 24 financial advisors, estate planners, and philanthropic professionals. The workshops cost $795 (or less after a hefty discount for members of his Legacy Builder Network) and are usually held in Orlando. For $95 a month, you receive a membership to the Legacy Builder Network, which provides a variety of benefits including the right to private-label SunBridge materials, use of its Priceless Conversations and other tools with your clients, monthly newsletters and monthly conference calls.
Farnsworth sent Mindy and me a CD with the conversation we had about our children. We’ve put it in a safe place for the kids to listen to one day.
Priceless Conversations Sharing
Generosity that Matters- Giving back, through generosity and serving others around us, makes our lives richer and more meaningful. Narrating to others the purposes behind our generosity and the experiences that motivate our giving strengthen and encourage those who come behind us to give more and serve more, and in the process, to discover their own life purpose.
Priceless Conversations Giving
Generosity that Matters- Whether we give publicly or in private, it is important to share with others the purposes and passion behind our giving, so that our commitment to the causes and organization we benefit may evolve into a perpetual monument to the human spirit. Without the stories behind the gifts, important lessons are lost to future generations.
Priceless Conversations Legacy
Life’s Greatest Treasures- Your real wealth is the living declaration of who you are as a unique human being—of the path you have traveled in your life, and the bridge of values, vision, wisdom, and experience that you have to offer. Pass on this true wealth in your own words.
Priceless Conversations Values
Priceless Conversations Family Values (for couples)
A Legacy of Value and Virtue- You’ve learned that it’s not hard to make good decisions when you know what your values are. Now you can share those values and teach those you love the joys of a values-centered, purpose-filled life. Surely there can be no greater mission for your life.
Priceless Conversations Wisdom
A Record of Wisdom and Values- Wisdom is something personal, unique to you alone, a kind of wealth that, like all wealth, can be shared and passed along to those you love. Don’t let it remain buried alive within you, but let it be dusted off, cherished, and remembered for generations to come.
Priceless Conversations Faith
Yearnings of the Soul- Spiritual values go to the very essence of who we are as human being and who we are as a people. The story of our faith journey is an epic account that needs to be told and re-told to current and future generations.
Priceless Conversations Planning Topics:
Priceless Conversations Wishes
Honoring Our Later Years- Making the last chapters of your life meaningful and truly reflective of your values can sometimes be challenging. It requires that you take steps now to explain and document how you want others to implement what you have decided concerning your care.
Priceless Conversations The Meaning of Money
Using Wealth Wisely- Don’t just leave them money; leave them your life-lessons about how to use money with skill and judgment. Discover within yourself a treasure house of wisdom about the meaning of money—wisdom that will guide them to place true value on what they own.
Priceless Conversations The Meaning of Success
A Guide to Successful Living- Explore and share your learning of what it means and what it takes to achieve success in life: professional success; educational success; financial success; success in relationships; and personal success. Your wisdom and insights can be a stepping stone to their success.
Priceless Conversations Business
Creating Concrete Value- Building a successful business is one of the most challenging and underappreciated achievements of our time. The epic journey of creating concrete value for customers, employees, and family members is a story that needs to be told.
Priceless Conversations Estate Plan
Protecting and Providing for Those We Love- There are many reasons for doing estate planning, but ultimately they all boil down to this: we want to touch the hearts and lives of those we love, even in our absence. In this process, we can share what our lives have meant and what we hope for the lives of others.
Priceless Conversations Insights Topics:
Priceless Conversations Alma Mater
An Educations for Life - We feel a soul-deep allegiance toward our schools. They shaped and molded us, and prepared us for a life of meaning and purpose. They affected the way we see the world and the way we see ourselves. Now we can share cherished memories and our feeling of connection to our alma mater.
Priceless Conversations Veteran
The Legacy of Heroes- “The secret of Happiness is Freedom, and the secret of Freedom, Courage.” (Thucydides) Veterans’ stories of courage in defense of our freedoms must not be lost. Their stories must be heard, shared, and saved, lest we forget the price they paid to allow us to enjoy life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.
Priceless Conversations Angels and Heroes
Lives That Touch Our Hearts- Your life has been lifted and enriched by the people who befriended you, took you under their wing, and went out of their way to help you along life’s journey. As you tell their stories and how they made a difference for you, you also share important understanding about your own life.
Priceless Conversations Turning Points
The Hinges of Our Lives- Looking back at the significant moments of your life and relating how those events have helped to shape the person you have become, the deeper meaning of your life comes into clearer focus. The narrative of your journey is a rich and intriguing tapestry that will touch others’ lives for good.
Priceless Conversations Year in Review
Stories of a Year Gone By- The sands of time pass quickly through the hourglass of our lives, and without an occasion for pausing and reflecting on the meaning of the last twelve months, many of the rich blessings and important lessons of our life can be overlooked .
Priceless Conversations Tribute
They Touched Our Lives for Good- Before they passed, they were heroes who lived for something bigger than themselves. While they lived, they touched the hearts and changed the lives of those around them. We must now preserve their stories so they are never forgotten.
Priceless Conversations Family Topics:
Priceless Conversations Love
Adventures of our Life Together- When you love them, you need to tell them. And when they’re the love of your life, it’s important to capture those feelings and those expressions as a permanent reminder of how much you cherish the life you’ve built together. When love is shared, it grows.
Priceless Conversations My Baby
A Mother's Love - A new baby is like the beginning of all things - wonder, hope, a dream of possibilities. It is vitally important for the new mother to express some of the almost inexpressible feelings she has for this infant and the experience of becoming a mother.
Priceless Conversations Children
Words of Love and Protection- Capture your fondest wishes for your children’s happiness, especially if you pass away before they grow up. Share your hopes, dreams, and instructions for them and those who will guide their footsteps in your absence. Your love can shelter them from life’s storms.
Priceless Conversations Our Special Child
Sheltering a Precious Lamb- Your child, with their unique gifts and challenges, will need your love and understanding all their life, even after you’re gone. Share your caring and your insights with your special child and with those who will shepherd them when you’re not here.
Priceless Conversations Angel Remembered
Love Last Forever- The loss of a child is certainly one of life's most excruciating trials. Nothing upends the natural order of things so dramatically, and leaves us so bewildered and disoriented. It is essential to memorialize who they are and how their too-short life can make a lasting difference.
Priceless Conversations Childhood Years
Capturing Our Children's Stories- Children ages 6-12 grow up so quickly that memories of their insight, honesty, and youthful exuberance can easily be lost. This special process of annual interviews will keep alive the memories of this special but fleeting time of life.
Priceless Conversations Adult Children
Ties That Bind Forever - One season follows another, laden with happiness and tears, and before we know it, our little ones are grown with little ones of their own. We must tell them that we love them, and why, for we are bound together forever.
Priceless Conversations Grandchildren
Generations of Love - There’s a special bond that seems to leapfrog generations, connecting young and old in the magic of family ties. Your words of wisdom and the sound of your voice can be a beacon, an anchor, and a harbor safe from the gales of life.
Priceless Conversations Celebrations
Occasions to Rejoice- Celebrations connect us as couples, as families, as communities, as religious groups, as nations, and as mankind. We need to share and preserve our memories of holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, gatherings, traditions, and milestones.
Priceless Conversations My House
Home is Where the Heart is- The places you’ve lived hold some of your most enjoyable stories and lessons. Revisit the homes of your past and you will strike a mother lode of memories, a rich vein of experiences that can be mined for a deeper meaning and understanding of your life.
Priceless Conversations Treasures
Possessions of Deep Emotional Value- By caring for your precious keepsakes and documenting their stories, you give three priceless gifts: the treasures themselves; your dedication in preserving them and their meaning; and a richer understanding of your life and your family’s history.
Priceless Conversations Pets
Man’s Best Friends- The friendship, loyalty, and companionship of pets are exquisite treasures to be cherished and remembered. You need to recall how they have touched your life, to give instructions for their care, and to share your insights about their larger role in our lives.