Morningstar Magazine - December 2017/January 2018 - 70

Investors

Design With Reach
Ross Gott provides clients with
touch points, not data points.

out by the work of Nobel-winning behavioral
economist Richard Thaler, who believes
that so-called design architects hold a lot of sway
over the behaviors of investors. With good
design, financial advisors can lead clients toward
better outcomes, but not by bombarding them
with data. "Giving clients data upon data
is not the same thing as transparency," Gott says.
"But advisors sometimes confuse those."
A Unique Take on Client Meetings

USER PROFILE

Ilana Polyak

In a world consumed by Big Data, it's tempting to
throw as many numbers at clients as possible.
But data isn't a stand-in for insights, advisor Ross
Gott says, and a barrage of it can be overwhelming
to clients. Gott, founder of ZeroCelsius Wealth
Studio in New London, N.H., fights against data
overload. Using a design sensibility, he gives
his clients streamlined presentations full of visual
flourishes that tease out the essentials for each
client. Where other advisors' websites show
menus of services, performance charts, and market
commentaries, Gott keeps his simple. He
distills his offerings to three essentials: discover,

70

know, and grow. Clients must first discover
who they are, they need to know what they want
to achieve, and finally they require a plan
to make that possible with their money. "A lot
of advisors don't understand that what matters are
touch points, not data points," Gott says.
A career at an ad agency (where he was in
the accounting department) taught Gott the power
of good design. "If you don't have a good
design, it's hard to create touch points," he says.
"Otherwise, you're left with thick financial
plans. Those are a wealth counselor's tools, but
they're not client deliverables."
Good design empowers clients, Gott believes.
Bad design leads to paralysis. It's an idea borne

When a client first considers working with Gott,
there's a three-meeting process to go through. Part
pub crawl, part blind date, Gott uses these
interactions to learn as much as he can about each
person. This isn't the time to bring out the
charts and projections, he argues. In the first
meeting, there's no mention of finances. Instead,
he wants to know about people's musical
tastes, childhood memories, and favorite vacation
spots. An Army brat who attended 19 schools
between kindergarten and high school graduation,
getting to know new people is second nature
to Gott.
"We're just getting acquainted," Gott says.
"We are trying to figure out if we are going to be
able to impact their lives for good."

Ross Gott and Robin Laughinghouse of ZeroCelsius Wealth Studio.



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Morningstar Magazine - December 2017/January 2018

Contents
Morningstar Magazine - December 2017/January 2018 - Cover1
Morningstar Magazine - December 2017/January 2018 - Cover2
Morningstar Magazine - December 2017/January 2018 - 1
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Morningstar Magazine - December 2017/January 2018 - Contents
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