You are more likely to achieve your financial goals with my help than without it. Together, we can craft a financial plan that is more than just an investment strategy, but a comprehensive road map to accomplish your goals and avoid the hidden pitfalls which could derail your success. I’ll be there along the way to keep us on course and respond to changing markets, regulations, and needs.
That’s my value proposition. Whether your goals are retirement, college, or making your money work for you, I’ve helped people achieve goals just like yours for more than a decade. Unfortunately, there is often some reluctance to hire a financial advisor, even one who is a Certified Financial Planner professional. Recently, the scandal at Wells Fargo reminded us that that some financial firms still allow short-term profits to take priority over ethical behavior or customer needs.
Years ago, I left the broker-dealer world that was paid by commission to become a fee-based financial planner. I am not a salesman, so why would I want to be paid on a transactional basis? It is a conflict of interests and investors know this. That’s why trust is so low for the financial industry and why many people are still reluctant to seek help even when they need it.
When a survey by Cerulli Associates asked about the most difficult part of working with financial advisors, the top concerns included:
- Not sure if the advisors are recommending the best products
- I am not sure if I can trust advisors
- Costs are not transparent and I don’t know how much I pay advisors
- I don’t feel like a top priority client for advisors
Boy, that is sad. Unfortunately, these thoughts are probably familiar and you may have had the exact same concerns. Luckily, you can address most of these issues by changing from a commissioned broker to a fee-based fiduciary. As a fiduciary, my legal obligation is to place client interests ahead of my own. In a 2014 survey by State Street Global Advisors, they found the top reasons why investors prefer fees versus commissions:
- 36%: I know what I am going to be paying upfront
- 27%: My advisor is invested in my success
- 20%: I trust that my advisor is not selecting costlier investment products just to drive up commissions
- 10%: An actively traded account could result in high commissions, costing more than fees
- 7%: I can deduct investment advisor fees on my taxes
Which would you prefer?
A) I’m not sure how my advisor gets paid or if I can trust him. Am I in the best products or the ones with the highest commissions?
Or B) I know exactly how and how much my advisor is paid. My advisor is paid by me for providing advice over time not a commission for a sale. My advisor has my best interests in mind.
At Good Life Wealth Management, our approach is simple and transparent. We offer two programs:
1) Premier Wealth Management. For investors seeking holistic financial planning and wealth management. Our fee is 1% of assets under management ($250,000 minimum). Most common needs include retirement income planning, portfolio management, college savings, tax and estate planning, and risk management.
2) Wealth Builder Program. For newer investors seeking to build a personally-tailored financial foundation. The fee is $200/month (under $250,000). Most common needs are IRAs, employee benefits, net worth analysis, student loan advice, savings strategies and term life insurance.
The fee conversation often takes center stage for the decision about choosing a financial advisor. But it shouldn’t. We ought to be focusing on what we can do for you and about how working together will put you in a position to be more likely to achieve your goals. Investors work with me because they want peace of mind knowing that I have their back. My clients are very intelligent and could undoubtedly “do it themselves”. But that is not what most successful investors do. Why not?
- They have better uses of their time. They would rather spend their time on work, family, or collecting cat figurines (or insert your actual hobby).
- They recognize that they “don’t know what they don’t know”. Most people don’t have the interest in studying finance in their spare time, but even if they did, there remains the risk of missing information and not keeping up with new developments.
- Leaders delegate to experts. You can’t be an expert at everything. You should have a good CPA, Attorney, and Financial Planner who know you so well that they can anticipate your needs.
- It’s tough to be objective about money. For couples, conversations about money are often, how shall we say, counterproductive? An advisor brings an outside perspective, expertise, and insight to create a plan that works for both of you.
I remember the first day of ECON 101 at Oberlin – Professor Zinser started the class by writing this on the board: TINSTAAFL. There is no such thing as a free lunch. If you’re looking for financial help, it’s fair to ask what it will cost. That’s because if someone is offering you a free lunch, you know that it may ultimately be a very, very expensive lunch. Know what you are paying your financial advisor. Ask.
If you’re looking for comprehensive planning, or just help with a couple of questions, give me a call. Yes, there is a price for financial advice. I aim to make that cost completely transparent, so you can have the confidence to move forward and get to more important questions about how we can achieve your financial goals together.