Do-It-Yourself Doesn’t Work Reliably

What The Great-West Life Assurance Company has to say about advice.

Great-West is a giant company in the Canadian life insurance marketplace. Here is what they have noticed about the value of financial planning with an advisor. The Value of Advice

The video is about 2 minutes long and provides interesting insights. You should take a look.

There are, no doubt, exceptions. Some people have done very well without advice, while others, with an advisor, have done poorly. The exceptions are interesting, but recall Damon Runyon’s rule.

“The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that’s the way to bet.”

Why advice works

Most people have emotions. Emotions get in the way of decisions that affect the long future. At one time or another we are all fearful or greedy. Influenced by gossip and wishful thinking. Arithmetically challenged and time incompetent.

Emotional responses can be mitigated by a third party who sometimes contributes little more than listening and questioning. We all have gaps in our knowledge.

The wise people find a guide to fill those holes so they don’t have to find them and keep up to date. Most of it comes from the answers to easy and obvious questions.

  1. “What will you do then?” or
  2. “When you put the money away, you wanted it for X. Has that changed?”
  3. “We discussed how markets fluctuate, but tend towards a predictable return over the long run. Do you think this fluctuation will pass.”
  4. “Are you saving as much as you decided you needed.”
  5. “How do you think you can do that?”

Technical knowledge is nice, but over the long run it provides refinement, not success. Motivating people to stay the course and avoid huge mistakes will create an acceptable answer. Remember anything more than enough is likely not money for you.

The purpose of planning

Advisors supply some pieces.

  1. Help discover the particular context
  2. Help describe opportunities and risks
  3. Create strategic goals
  4. Find tactics that are useful
  5. Help implement
  6. Review and revise
  7. Talk people in off the ledge once in a while.
  8. Motivate


It is all just “Organized Common Sense.” Never fall in love with complications and details. Dan Sullivan says it best.

“Making things clear and simple takes work. Being complicated and confusing is much easier.”

Most people don’t have enough experience to make it simple. Advisors can help with that. Advisors also can add the value of complete and non-contradictory. People are usually too close to be able to add those values.

Thank You

Thanks to William Moroney of Synergy Financial Group in Calgary, a fellow advisor with Great-West, who made a kind comment yesterday. I followed his link and found the video above. Comments improve the conversation. Please add some.

I help business owners, professionals, and others understand and manage risk and other financial issues. To help them achieve their goals, I use tax efficiencies and design advantages to acquire more efficient income and larger, more liquid estates.

In previous careers, I have 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. 705-927-4770

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