Organizing Your Local Council Team around Life Resource Planning
Over the past 11 years at the National Care Planning Council, we have discovered that the best way to help seniors and their families identify and utilize the complex, myriad and disparate senior services available in the community is through a solution-based approach that we call Life Resource Planning. This fee-based approach requires a team effort. As senior advisors or providers, we can't even begin to solve the problems of aging seniors by taking a single product sale approach or a single service sale approach. The effort must be coordinated under a master plan and often a number of resource team members are involved in providing solutions.
Solutions are not specific products or services, but typically translate into these as a result of the planning. Solutions are concepts, actions and strategies. The client will always take action on one or more of the recommended solutions. That is the beauty of this process – the client always buys in and typically purchases the necessary products and services from you and your local council team!
To be successful, Life Resource Planning requires at least 5 practitioners we call "Core Council Members." The services of core council members represent the majority of solutions uncovered through a life resource plan. In return, core council members rely on the life resource planning process to sell their services.
Without the life resource plan, core council members will be less successful. For example, a core council member might close sales on 16% of all leads working individually without a plan. That same member could close sales on 90% of all leads using the life resource planning process – a fivefold increase in the amount of business produced. Also it is important to note that for the geriatric service specialist and the private duty home care provider, the planning will create business that wasn't even there without the plan. They could have never provided their services without the planning process.
Core Council Members
- senior's financial services specialist
- geriatric service or care management specialist
- elder law or estate planning attorney
- reverse mortgage specialist
- private duty home care services
The Process of Completing a Life Resource Plan
Description of the Life Resource Planning Process (Click to Enlarge)
The life resource planner will derive fees from helping aging seniors optimize their resources. In addition, this planning will often uncover the need for products or services – which are offered as a separate activity from the planning to avoid a conflict of interest.
A financial specialist, an elder law or estate planning attorney and possibly a geriatric service specialist often need to collaborate on producing the effective master plan which we call a "life resource plan." Usually, the financial specialist will take the lead in promoting and implementing a life resource plan. This is true because some aging seniors do not need any additional support from attorneys or geriatric specialists or the services they bring together. This is particularly true for those individuals who are living in assisted living or nursing home environments. By providing all-purpose planning – focusing on finances and the eventual need for Medicaid – we can reach those aging seniors who have – at a minimum – a need for examining their financial situation and implications for the future.
In order to ensure the added participation of the attorney and the geriatric service specialist – where that is needed – an all-inclusive fee is charged when more than the services of the financial planner are needed. In order to make this legal for an attorney, the fee must go to a legally organized entity that represents the fees for the practitioners involved in the direct planning process. The entity itself will then disperse the appropriate fees for the appropriate services. Doing it this way, allows for the life resource planner to make a larger fee and avoid the attorney paying the other practitioners.
From experience, having each practitioner lend his or her expertise separately, charging separate fees, generally results in smaller fees for the planner and the geriatric specialist as opposed to what they could get with an all-inclusive charge.
Where the three fee-based practitioners are involved, the planner will make appropriate appointments with these practitioners for the client. If other members of the council are needed for their services, the planner will also schedule free initial appointments for those additional practitioners.
This approach to planning does not involve referring out services to some other life resource planning entity and hoping that the client and the other entity eventually connect. An integral part of every life resource plan is the scheduling of an appointment – where it is needed – with other members of the council and the client to ensure that solutions are addressed adequately. An accounting from all members of the council will be made through ongoing monthly contact with all council members.
Using Additional Specialists or Providers to Complete the Plan
In addition to the core council members, occasionally the planning process will uncover the need for additional senior services. The practitioners listed below are sometimes necessary to complete a life resource plan. However, their services are not always needed and as a result, they do not play as important a role in operating a local planning council that is formed around life resource planning. There should still be an agreement to bind these individuals to your local planning council. This helps with the image and credibility of the group in the community. Here are some of these additional specialists.
- aid and attendance specialist
- Medicaid planner
- geriatric health care provider
- house call physician or geriatric nurse practitioner
- long term care insurance specialist
- Medicare supplement and advantage plan specialist
- move manager or real estate agent specializing in seniors
- downsize specialist
- seniors' moving company
- home modification and remodeling
- home maintenance, yard services and chore services
- assisted living placement
- home health agency
- hospice provider
- medical equipment
- medical alert, home monitoring and home safety
- funeral preplanning
- tax planner/CPA
- fiduciary services provider
Start with Two or Three Key Members and Let the Rest of the Council Evolve Naturally
Don't rush into trying to find the other service providers in the community to be members of your council. Between the life resource planner, the attorney and the geriatric service provider, you are likely to have contacts with a network in the community to provide the other services. You can do adequate planning without the support council by simply finding providers in the community in whom you have confidence and involving them as solutions in your planning process.
Over time, you will find those providers who you want to bind to your group and you will form a closer relationship. This closer relationship is necessary in order to do the networking and marketing for exponentially expanding the business opportunities for all council members.