A lead article in the Wall Street Journal this week states that fees for investment advice at some of the largest brokerage firms are going up. At the same time, new clients are telling me that their former advisors are not providing comprehensive financial advice – some are not contacting clients at all. This does not seem to me to be a good value for the money.
Let’s be blunt: If you are going to pay a professional advisor to provide you with advice to improve your family’s financial situation, shouldn’t you expect holistic, comprehensive financial advice? You should expect that the value of the advice given exceeds the value of the dollars paid - Possibly by several multitudes.
The advice provided should include a discussion about your goals, objectives, and dreams for the future. There should be a review of your income, expenses, of what you own and who you owe, a plan for the repayment of debt, and a budget for future expenses.
It should include a review of insurance coverage: life, disability, health, liability, property, and long-term care. It should cover a discussion of your employee benefits, options, and company retirement plan.
You should have a clear understanding of your future retirement including a plan for providing a lifetime income that keeps pace with the ever-rising cost of living and that you cannot out-live.
It should provide for the education of your children, the possible care of your parents, the funding of your favorite charitable causes, and the minimization of all kinds of taxes.
There should be a review of your most important legal documents including your will, durable power of attorney, living trust, healthcare powers and living will.
And only then should the conversation turn to the proper investment management plan. A custom asset allocation among stocks, bonds and cash befitting each individual’s tolerance for volatility, time horizon, and liquidity needs. There should be a proper diversification among many securities, and a sufficient amount of cash to meet immediate needs.
These are the components of a proper financial plan. This is what you pay your financial advisor to provide. Ask your financial advisor to act in a Fiduciary capacity when working on your behalf and to put it in writing. It means they must put your interest ahead of their own. If they won’t, maybe you should find someone who will. Your family deserves the best advice money can buy.
If you and your life savings are being ignored or feeling taken advantage of, come join our family. We are a family-owned financial planning and investment advisory firm who promise to treat you like family. No products. No hard sell. No gimmicks. Just honest advice based on four decades of experience.