As advisor and client, we should agree on one point. If your financial plan fails, I probably won’t suffer much. Especially not if the advice is reasonable and I have documented it.
You must do it yourself but you need not do it alone.
An advisor is important for product acquisition and can help with other important aspects, too. Experience-based oversight is perhaps the real value in the relationship.
That value includes:
- Identification of contradictions. You cannot use the same money twice.
- Identification of voids. You are likely doing this only a few times in your life. People who have seen dozens, even hundreds, have seen things you cannot.
- Conscience. Discipline is a variable for most people. A little reminder sometimes has great value.
- Confidante. The one who talks you down off the bridge when things are going against you. The one who shows why the present is not necessarily the future. Perspective and context.
- Prophet. The key to managing the future is anticipating the future. Each of us is unique, yet we share many expectations and processes. Knowing what is likely to happen in our lives helps us plan and persevere.
- Encyclopaedia of information and the gate to a network of specialists.
- An accumulator of results and attribution of meaning to those results.
You need to know a good deal about the process and who does what. I provide product design and acquisition. You provide strategy, discipline, resources and outcomes.
You are the planner. The advisor is an assistant. A tool to use. Learn how to use said tool and learn the process where the tools fit. All the regulation in the world may make you feel better but it does not absolve you of responsibility for your own outcomes. Understand the soft values above and how they help you. Advisors typically are paid only for products and not for those other values. Be careful you do not throw away things that matter to you in the search for lower product fees.
Regulation may hurt you. Already advisors are being fussy about who they take on as a client. Many require a client to know more and who are able to make reasoned decisions.
Good advice can be found in the military.
Do not rely on others. Pack your own parachute.
Don Shaughnessy arranges life insurance for people who understand the value of a life insured estate. He can be reached at The Protectors Group, a large insurance, employee benefits, and investment agency in Peterborough, Ontario. In previous careers, he has been a partner in a large international public accounting firm, CEO of a software start-up, a partner in an energy management system importer, and briefly in the restaurant business.
Please be in touch if I can help you. firstname.lastname@example.org 866-285-7772