Let Me Clarify
Something I’ve noticed throughout the industry is the expectation that advisors should always have an answer, and always have a quick one. While it is the year 2020, and technology and other advances call for speed in our everyday lives, an advisor that ALWAYS has an answer may be a red flag.
Let me clarify.
I’m not saying that advisors shouldn’t “know their stuff” and be able to answer the questions that you have. What I am saying is that financial planning is an ever-evolving landscape that changes all the time and to take the time to be sure the answers you receive are tailored to your situation.
It seems like the world around us changes all the time. Good, bad, or indifferent, this includes changes in taxes, retirement planning, investments, insurance, etc. Although advisors should (and are required to) continually educate themselves, it’s not possible to have all the answers without first learning the information, interpreting what it means, and being able to communicate its impact. It shouldn’t be all that uncommon for you to be told that they’re still learning the depth of the changes and how it will impact a variety of situations, before having a quick response.
PERSONAL Finances are Personal
I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t feel very confident receiving a diagnosis from a doctor without him/her learning what my symptoms are and running some tests. Financial planning isn’t all that different. I’m always taken aback when I hear someone say, “I asked my advisor to invest for me, so they put my money into these funds”. Sure, it may have been a quick solution, but was it the best fit? The concern I have (and that you should have too!) is what other questions the advisor asked before investing the money. Did you communicate information about your family, work life, plans for retirement, cash flow, personal goals, and all the other items that should form the conversation of your specific situation? In this scenario, investing is just one piece of the financial planning puzzle. And without all the information, it is impossible to complete your overall picture.
We are Human
Perhaps the biggest thing we all struggle with is remembering just how human we are. One thing I learned early in my career was the importance of remembering that we can’t possibly know it all and being able to say, “let me look into that for you.” In my early years, with my degree, licenses and designations, it felt that would make me sound inexperienced and drive clients away if I didn’t always have the answer. Maybe it was bad customer service I received myself along the way, but luckily it didn’t take too long to realize and understand that clients should prefer taking the time to gather accurate information instead of a quick response that could be wrong. Accuracy should always come before ego.
Not to get all philosophical here, but I truly believe there isn’t a day in our lives that we can’t learn something. This, by itself, means that we can’t possibly have all the answers and should make you at least question someone that seems like they always do. To be clear, none of this is meant to downplay the intelligence or abilities of any other professionals, but rather is to help you identify the important questions they should be asking and the things you should look for when you have an important question to be answered.
As we embark on this clarifying journey together, I encourage you to submit any ideas, topics, or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendation for any individual. “Let Me Clarify” is a weekly blog containing Chad Baxter’s insights and thoughts about a variety of topics. To learn more about Chad, click here
This information is not intended to be a substitute for individualized legal advice. Please consult your legal advisor regarding your specific situation. Clarify Wealth Management and LPL Financial do not provide legal advice or services. The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk. Rebalancing a portfolio may cause investors to incur tax liabilities and/or transaction costs and does not assure a profit or protect against a loss.