Ashlyn Hood has an unusual approach to advising her investment clients. A financial advisor who works out of Susquehanna Bank in Reisterstown, Maryland, a suburb of Baltimore, Hood says, "At some point, I try to put my clients into a dream state. I say, "'What would you want to do if you had all the money you needed?' Or I might say, 'What would you want for your family if, say, you passed away?'"

The idea of getting clients to think in this kind of deep and abstract manner comes naturally to Hood, who began her college career in the U.K. studying psychology, before switching her major to finance and accounting. "I initially wanted to be a psychologist," she recalls, "because I wanted to figure out what made people tick. I studied it for two years, and it has helped me in my job as a financial advisor. When someone walks into my office with their walls up, I can figure out how to bring those walls down."

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