Debt planning is critically important, and advisors have a fiduciary responsibility to provide this service. Here are practical strategies to successfully integrate debt management services into your practice and how each one benefits your clients.

As a financial advisor, your role extends beyond simply managing investments and assets. To truly make a holistic impact on your clients’ financial well-being, it’s essential to address all aspects of their financial lives. One often overlooked but crucial piece is debt management. Incorporating debt planning into your services can help your clients achieve a more comprehensive and sustainable financial future. It offers additional benefits for your business such as tapping into the next generation, building more trusting relationships with clients, increasing referrals, and opening up additional streams of revenue

The significance of debt management

Debt is a reality for most individuals and families, with 80% of American adults have some form of debt. Its impact on financial health cannot be underestimated. There is also a common misconception that high-income earners do not have any debt. However, a study by Wilson Tower Watson shows that almost one-fifth of Americans with a six-figure income live paycheck to paycheck. Without a proper debt management strategy, clients will struggle with high interest rates, missed payments, and a lack of understanding about how to best utilize credit. By including debt planning in your services, you can empower your clients to take control of their financial situation, reduce unnecessary interest payments, and work towards building more wealth.

Positioning debt management in your service offering

Many advisors are now incorporating debt management and credit score services into their practice to attract the next generation of clients or gain a competitive edge by working with clients on the tipping point of wealth building. The following is a breakdown of how advisors can integrate debt management into their service offering:

  1. Educate and inform. Start by educating prospects and clients about the various types of debt, interest rate dynamics, importance of maintaining a strong credit score, and the long-term implications of debt accumulation. Acknowledge that debt is multifaceted, therefore it’s important to address many different implications. Furthermore, inform clients of the advantages that arise from strategically managing debt, such as access to more opportunities or increased savings and investments. Provide easy-to-understand explanations so they can make informed decisions about their financial choices.
  2. Holistic financial assessment. During your initial consultations, conduct a thorough assessment of your clients’ financial situations. Understand their income, expenses, assets, and liabilities. A comprehensive debt assessment also lets you uncover any hidden or overlooked debts that your clients may not be aware of, such as high-interest credit card balances or outstanding personal loans. By helping your clients recognize and prioritize these debts, you demonstrate your commitment to providing a holistic approach to financial planning and debt management.
  3. Set clear goals. Work with your clients to establish specific financial goals, both short-term and long-term. Whether it’s paying off credit card debt, reducing student loans, or financing a home, align your debt-planning strategies with these goals. As you embark on the goal-setting journey, facilitate interactive conversations with your clients, shaping objectives that are not only realistic but also measurable. For instance, an objective could involve trimming down overall debt by a precise percentage within a set period of time.
  4. Customized debt repayment plans. Create personalized debt repayment plans that consider your clients’ unique circumstances. Delve into your clients’ lifestyle, goals, and preferences to craft plans that align with their unique situations. Whether your strategy involves giving precedence to high-interest debts, exploring debt-consolidation avenues, or conquering smaller debts first, the focus remains on customization. Consider a scenario where your client is on the brink of a substantial purchase, such as a new car or a home. In such a case, channel your efforts towards enhancing their credit score to secure advantageous rates, potentially saving them thousands of dollars.
  5. Spending plans and cash flow management. Help clients create effective debt-management strategies that alleviate pressure on their cash flow. By exploring options like debt consolidation or refinancing, clients can potentially unlock reduced monthly payments, consequently liberating additional funds for alternative purposes, including bolstering their emergency savings and investment efforts. Furthermore, skillful debt management can curtail accrued interest expenses over the long haul, ultimately contributing to an increase in overall cash flow.
  6. Monitor debt repayment progress. To support clients’ success, establish a structured cadence of periodic check-in sessions with your clients or utilize ​​debt management tools like Optivice. These checkpoints provide valuable opportunities to increase touch points with your clients and ensure that their goals stay on track. By monitoring their progress, you proactively adjust as needed and celebrate significant milestones reached along the way. This not only recognizes achievements but also reinforces the positive strides your clients are making towards their financial goals.
  7. Promote financial literacy. According to, only 60% of U.S. adults give themselves an “A” or “B” grade on their knowledge of personal finance, and 66% said they have not reviewed their credit scores or reports in the past year. You can enhance the financial literacy of both potential and existing clients by organizing informative workshops, webinars, or providing educational materials focused on debt management and credit score enhancement. Empowering them with the underlying concepts of debt-planning cultivates a deeper sense of engagement and commitment to the journey. Beyond fostering informed decision-making, content creation also serves as a catalyst to generate demand for your services by establishing credibility and strengthening your role as a trusted financial advisor.
  8. Integration with investment strategies: Highlight how effective debt planning directly impacts investment strategies. This is particularly impactful for clients who are advancing in their careers while managing outstanding student loans, auto loans, and credit card debt. Utilize visual aids like calculators and charts to vividly demonstrate how effective debt management can release funds for investment, offering the potential for enhanced long-term wealth accumulation. By illustrating this symbiotic relationship, you empower clients to comprehend how debt management plays a pivotal role in shaping a trajectory towards their financial goals.


Debt planning is a crucial part of holistic financial planning, impacting cashflow management, investment decisions, retirement planning and more. By incorporating debt planning into your service offering, you demonstrate your genuine commitment to empowering your clients to take control of their debts, make informed financial decisions, and have a financially secure future. Offering debt management services establishes you as a trusted advisor, fostering long-lasting relationships with existing clients and drawing in new clients with significant earning potential.

However, debt planning isn’t just about managing numbers; it’s about creating peace of mind and a solid foundation for financial success.

Source: Tessa Elliot, Advisor Perspectives. 

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We can help take the effort out of this for you by demonstrating how this would work for you and your family and providing you with one cohesive Holistic Lifestyle Financial Plan.

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