Clients can be reluctant to disclose their financial affairs, especially if they lack financial knowledge or confidence in making financial decisions. A more knowledgeable client is better able to provide the details you will need in order to provide the best advice.

Once clients feel at ease discussing their finances — and their insecurities — they often feel more confident in making smarter financial decisions and, eventually, become more successful investors, says Gary Rabbior, president of the Canadian Foundation for Economic Education in Toronto.

Financial advisors can play a large role in educating clients about financial issues, Rabbior says. But you should be wary of overwhelming your clients with too much information.

“Start small and let the client recognize the potential personal value of improving their financial capabilities,” Rabbior says.

Here are three tips for helping clients with financial literacy:

1. Discuss the latest financial news
Encourage your clients to bring up financial issues they’re having trouble understanding, Rabbior says. For example, ask clients to read the financial section of a newspaper and share one or two articles they may have questions about.

Eventually, your clients will feel empowered to ask important financial questions themselves.

2. Recommend financial resources
The amount of financial education resources available online can be overwhelming for some clients, who may not know where to start. While there is no shortage information, Rabbior says, there is a shortage of people who want to learn more. And for consumers do want this information, it can be hard to narrow down which sources have the right answers.

As an advisor, you can recommend a few reliable online sources of financial information, Rabbior says.

“Financial advisors can help their clients by being a conduit to resources that can help,” Rabbior says.

To start, you might go to a few trusted databases and pull out a couple articles that would be of interest to your clients. Encourage your clients to discuss these articles at your next meeting and answer any questions they might have.

3. Encourage clients to teach others
Another strategy is based on the old adage, “the best way to learn is to teach,” Rabbior says.

If your clients have children, encourage them to start teaching their children about money. People often learn more when they’re sharing information with others, Rabbior says.

By doing so, clients may recognize their own knowledge gaps and come to you for more information.

Editor’s note: For more help on educating your clients, see:

October is a good time to get help educating clients