I'm glad you trust me. You still shouldn't hire me as your financial advisor.
I work with a lot of high performing athletes and entrepreneurs, and they are particularly good at maintaining tunnel vision in a very niche discipline, defying odds and silencing naysayers on their paths to success.
However, that path doesn’t afford them much time to become experts with their investments. Rightfully so, they hire a professional to grow their money.
I always ask, “Can you walk me through your decision making process for hiring your current advisor?” Here is the very detailed, thorough approach I most often hear:
Step 1: “I knew him from college,” or “I use her bank for my business,” or “my friend introduced us.”
Step 2: “After a conversation with him/her, we got along and (s)he seemed trustworthy.”
I ask, “Ok, what next?”
“Ok let me summarize,” I say. “You liked the person and trusted them, so you gave them your entire life savings to manage?”
Let me ask rhetorically, would you EVER give your life savings to someone you didn’t trust? Of course not.
So take “trust” off the table when selecting an advisor. It’s a given.
I recognize that peeling back your financial curtain, letting someone see your entire financial picture, can be nerve wracking, scary, confusing, etc, but this industry is rigged against you. You can’t hire an advisor because they were the path to least resistance.
Tony Robbins quotes in his book Unshakeable that about 1% of the roughly 315,000 financial advisors in this country are legally obligated to put your needs ahead of their own with every decision they make.
In other words, 99% of advisors are NOT required by law to put your needs ahead of theirs with every decision they make…EVEN THOUGH IT IS YOUR LIFE SAVINGS.
Trust alone cannot be your only decision making criteria when hiring an advisor.
I wrote an article about finding the right financial advisor, and to sum it up, I recommend these steps:
Come up with a list of potential names using your personal network and some internet searches (www.google.com and www.napfa.org are good starts).
Research them. Check their social pages, both personal and professional. Look them up on www.brokercheck.finra.org. Get a feel for who they are. Find out whether they are a fee-only advisor or not.
Interview the finalists. Understand their investment philosophy. Envision yourself working with this person for the next 20-30 years.
At Beck Bode, we believe so strongly in the notion of being an educated consumer that we offer a copy of Dancing With the Analysts to all clients and prospective clients. The strategies discussed in the book were created in the early 70’s and serve as the foundation for how we manage all of our clients’ (and our own!) investments.
If clients or prospective clients choose to read it, they will understand exactly how we invest the growth portion of their investments.
Sure, it’s flattering if someone likes us so much they want to work with us, but with something as important as their life savings, we don’t let them move forward until they fully understand what they are signing up for.
Our clients appreciate knowing we never accept commissions and are among the 1% required to put their needs ahead of ours with every decision we make. They know exactly why we buy the stocks in their accounts, why we sell when we do, and why we reinvest in the companies we do. They like knowing we look every day at their accounts and trade every 4-6 weeks to continually keep them in the best position to succeed.
That approach isn’t for everyone. We get it. But because we are up front with prospective clients and tell them exactly how we invest, we tend to attract those who love our approach and repel those who don’t.
Again, forget using trust as a decision making criteria when selecting your advisor. Instead, do your homework. Make sure they are always putting your needs first, and take the time to understand what they will do with your money.
You’ve worked hard to earn it. You deserve to have someone work just as hard to make it grow.
PS - if you want a copy of Dancing With the Analysts, send me an email here. I’ll mail you a copy for free.
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