TL;DR: Everyone should use a financial advisor.
It’s a constant question: do I really need to pay for financial advice? I can totally search for any of this stuff on the internet, why would I spend money on my money? That just seems ridiculous.
But — just like putting your symptoms into WebMD and inevitably being informed that your diagnosis is fatal — the internet can be a scary and misleading place. What works for one person may or may not be the smart move for you. There are huge benefits to working with a fee-only financial advisor. Let’s list some of the reasons why:
- This isn’t your profession. But it is mine! I’ve spent pretty much every day of my entire adult life focused on personal finance (even when I’m on vacay, I still keep my finger on the pulse). I’ve passed numerous exams and have to undergo continuing education annually. This stuff is my speciality. Most people don’t cut their own hair or change their own car oil, why are your finances any different?
- You aren’t objective (nobody is). It has been clinically proven that losing money hurts much more than gaining the same amount of money. Money is an emotional topic. I don’t care what you say, you have feelings about your money. Only psychopaths don’t have feelings about their money. Your financial advisor serves as an emotional buffer between your feelings and your cash.
- Pay-as-you-go. Financial services aren’t like buying a house or a car where you’re locked in. Most advisors charge as a percentage of how much of your money they are managing. I charge my clients a monthly subscription or a monthly asset management fee. Either way, you can get out if you’re not happy. Investing is a long-term thing, but you aren’t stuck with the same advisor long-term.
- Transparent pricing. It’s true: financial advisors are looking to pay their bills. But a good financial advisor can quickly and easily explain how they charge you. I set my prices based on industry benchmarks with the goal of being as clear as possible.
- It’s a lot of responsibility Money tends one of those “I’ll get to it later” things. It’s easy to go months before actually getting to an important task, which might make you miss out on an opportunity. Your financial advisor has systems in place to make sure everything gets looked at. I’ll make sure you’re headed in the right direction. I’ll have hard conversations with you. I will let you know when legal changes affect you. I can even give you suggestions on tax strategies. I’ll hold your hand as much as you need it. I will keep you accountable to yourself. Taking care of your money is a big responsibility. Paying someone else to do it is worth the piece of mind.
- Where are you going to get the information to make the right decisions? Who are you gonna call? Ghostbusters?? I don’t think so. The internet is full of free advice – that comes with a bias. Financial media is designed to keep your attention. There are very few hard-and-fast rules in the world of finance. What works for one person might not work for you. So who do you trust? A trained advisor will know the options and what makes sense for your situation.
- A focus on your big picture. My job is to set you up to live the whole life you want. With the average life expectancy of Americans sitting at 78 years, that means planning for 30, 40, 50 years into the future. I’ll help you balance the fulfillment of instant gratification (which is absolutely necessary in the right places!) with those hazy future dreams.
- Training. All financial advisors have to pass at least one test to be licensed. I’ve passed 4, including one of the most respected in the industry. I can calculate the correlation coefficient assets have to each other and tell you if you have a well-diversified portfolio. I can calculate the standard deviation and tell you how risky an asset might be. I’m trained to go far beyond the sexy headlines to create a solution for your financial well-being.
- Experience. I’m a student of the markets and I recognize that they come in cycles. Here again, my objectivity can help save you from making a rash decision.
- A plan. “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” – Mike Tyson. How will you react when you get punched? I’m the coach in your corner of the ring. Investing is more complicated than it seems. Personal finance is more complicated than it looks. I work with you to lay out a plan that will work for you… even if the world decides to punch you in the mouth.