Financial Advisor Pet Peeves
Everyone has circumstances that just rub them the wrong way. A pet peeve can be like rolling around in itching powder, wearing a sack cloth, and then going for a run on a hot day. As a financial advisor, I have accumulated my fair share of pet peeves that I need to get off my chest. In my opinion, here are my Top 5 pet peeves:
Stay the course – Where in life does “stay the course” ever work? No pilot or boat captain says, “I figure we will just stay the course” when confronted with a collision waiting to happen. Instead, when the markets are going up or becoming over valued, there is work to do. As we near retirement, we should be slowly shifting to safer asset classes. We can get our legal documents done because cash flow is easier to afford it. When markets are down, we can take advantage of depressed IRA values by implementing a Roth conversion. There is always something that can be done. When I hear a fellow advisor say we are staying the course, I get concerned because it is a lazy answer at best, and possibly irresponsible.
Multiple advisors – In my career, I never thought that I would be compared to a racehorse. A prospective family once told me that they like to have multiple financial advisors so they can compare their performance. I told them that success leaves clues. The wealthiest families on earth don’t do that; t. Moreover, Andrew Carnegie is quoted as having once said, “Put all your eggs in one basket, and then watch that basket”. His point was to diversify, but if you have so many different baskets and advisors handling your finances, you won’t know who is doing the best job for you. Financial planning is about more than performance, just as chess is not about counting the pieces lost or won, it is about who is control of the entire board. You want to have an advisor that is coordinating with your CPA, insurance agent and estate planning attorney.
You are expensive – We take great pride in the fees we charge because they are typically lower than industry average and we provide significant value for those fees. Regrettably, families may hire the cheapest painter only to find out in the long run they will be painting twice. We should always be cognizant of the fees we are paying and expect value in return.
Believing a statement is a financial plan – Families deserve better. I have met families who unknowingly were convinced that a pie chart on a monthly statement was their financial plan. A financial plan consists of strategies for your retirement income, long term care, tax mitigation, liability protection and legacy planning as well as your investment allocations. A financial plan is not a statement, but a plan of where you are and where you are headed in each of these categories.
My spouse doesn’t care about our finances – 90% of women will be in charge of their families’ finances in their lifetime. This is a sobering statistic, but it is taken very lightly. One of the lines in the sand for SWAN Capital is that we choose not to work with individuals who resist bringing their spouse to at least one visit. I don’t want to sound too harsh, but when planning for two lifetimes it is vital to hear from both parties.
Oysters have irritants that get stuck in their shell and, in response, build layers of protection around this intruder to protect itself. We call those encapsulated particles, pearls. Pet peeves can start out as irritants but, over time, can turn into pearls of wisdom. My hope is that these frustrations turn into “Aha!” moments for you.
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