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How to organize a successful financial planning seminar

Financial advisors and RIAs have several marketing techniques at their disposal, but live events continue to be an effective way of acquiring and retaining clients. One study found that up to 70% of attendees may become clients after a live event. Financial planning seminars, in particular, may be one of the most effective options for advisory firms.

These live events offer fiduciaries, advisors, and financial planners the ability to personally connect with prospects in their area – and sometimes remote clients, too. 

However, organizing and executing a successful seminar requires planning. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of how you can provide an informative, creative, and compliant seminar, whether your topic is financial planning, wealth management, or retirement. 

Selecting a topic

Determining what to speak about is one of the most challenging aspects of planning a seminar as a financial advisor. While current events may spur ideas, ensuring that you can pull together a seminar when the event is still relevant can pose a problem. At the same time, financial planning includes so many variables that there are dozens of potential topics.

The easiest way to narrow the list is to consider your ideal client. A young, 20-something beginning to add to their 401(k) and IRA will have different needs than a 67-year-old retiree. Tailoring what seminar topics would be relevant to your clients would enable you to select a sound topic.

That said, there are evergreen ideas:

  • Common pitfalls in financial planning
  • Selecting a financial advisor
  • Retirement accounts basics
  • Legacy and estate planning
  • Legacy planning for pets
  • Creating a portfolio
  • Achieving financial independence
  • Financial planning for career shifts
  • Financial planning after a divorce
  • Strategies for offsetting inflation
  • The basics of bonds
  • Common investing strategies 
  • Retail vs institutional life insurance


Prepping for your financial planning seminar


There are several things to consider when organizing your seminar. Some of the main items you need to consider are:

  • Seminar location
  • Timing
  • Time required before and after to setup
  • Resources
  • Marketing
  • Whether you plan to record it

You may also question whether or not you plan to film the seminar as a live webinar, enabling you to include remote attendees as well. 


You will also want to ensure you have enough time to market and advertise your seminar. The initial announcement is often on your firm’s website, newsletter, and social media pages. But you may also want to run advertisements on Facebook, Linkedin, or even in your local paper. It can also be beneficial to leverage localized apps, such as Next Door, to reach potential clients in your area.


Next, you’ll want to consider what you will need for a successful seminar. Some items you need should be supplied by your venue, if you are not hosting the seminar at your firm. Others you may need to bring along. Common materials or technologies include:

  • A projector
  • A laptop
  • microphone
  • Supplemental videos
  • A slideshow
  • Worksheets
  • Pens and paper
  • Firm pamphlets
  • Refreshments


As with any other form of marketing, it’s essential to review your seminar plans through the lens of SEC compliance. It’s essential to ensure that your seminar does not include potentially misleading statements, specific advice to an individual without knowing their portfolio, or performance results without a designated time period. 

Structuring your seminar

Once you have a topic, you’ll want to consider what your seminar will look like. How long will it be? Will you have a guest speaker? What about time for Q&A?

In most cases, you may want to keep your seminar between 60-90 minutes. The longer your event is, the more breaks you should have in between. Typically, the last 15-30 minutes should be dedicated to answering questions.

If you plan to record the seminar and post it online, you may also want to consider how the venue and discussion would affect online viewers. 

After your seminar

Once your seminar is over, you’ll want to follow up with attendees. Ideally, you will have an email or address signup sheet at your event. If not, you can still run a direct mail campaign to the same areas you originally advertised in.

The fact is multiple studies have shown that it’s rare for clients to purchase services immediately. Hubspot, a leading marketing tool, suggests that around 8 touchpoints are required before a client commits. When you factor in the trust required for a client to hire a financial advisor, it may very well take more follow-ups for conversions. 

5 more ideas for a stellar event

1. Present examples

One of the easiest ways to convey information regarding investments, retirement, and other financial services is through real-life examples. While you can’t use client information as a case study, you can create fictional scenarios based on your expertise. These stories and mock portfolios assist your seminar attendees in understanding the core concepts behind wealth management. 

2. Make it interactive

It’s important to share your expertise, but many potential clients may not do well with a traditional lecture-styled seminar. Instead, you may want to add interactive components, such as giving a quiz or assisting them in filling out a worksheet.

3. Include speakers

Sometimes, it helps to include additional experts, such as local professors, economists, or related professionals, such as lawyers or accountants. After all, many wealth management services, such as estate planning or tax mitigation, may involve these other service providers. Having them speak at your seminar both gives your potential clients more information and builds trust, but it also strengthens professional partnerships.

4. Show visual or tangible graphs

In addition to using examples, presenting information with simple graphs and charts can help your attendees better understand and retain information from your seminar. A retirement seminar, in particular, can especially benefit from visual aids, as moving money around in a client’s golden years can be quite complicated.

5. Provide take-home materials

Another way to host a memorable financial planning seminar is to provide your attendees with take-home materials. Financial planning templates, checklists, or worksheets enable prospective clients to review and work on what you discussed in the seminar. Furthermore, these resources will remind them of your firm and expertise, making it an excellent client acquisition tool. 20 

More on client aquisition

A financial planner can leverage seminars to acquire clients, help a prospect make informed decisions, and build trust with current clients. As a financial professional, you and your advisory firm can highlight your expertise through this education-based marketing tool to grow your firm. But it isn’t the only strategy out there for growth.

Check out our free High Growth Playbook for more on how to scale your firm.

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