Dealing with Financial Advisors

Checking Your Advisor

If you’re one of the some 10,000 people turning 65 every day for the next 15 years, your looming retirement probably spurs you to seek out a financial advisor to help with money decisions as you leave the workforce. Everywhere you see professionals with strings of letters after their names. How do you find the right advisor with the right credentials for you?

Don’t Understand an Advisor?

What if you don’t understand what your financial advisor tells you? When the advisor uses abstruse (to you) financial or legal terms, you’re left in the dark. That is obviously not good for you in planning your finances. Here’s how to get clarity on the advice you hear, and pay for.

One of my staff members several years ago drove the communications problem home to me with this useful bit of advice: “Rick, your clients don’t understand half as much about investing as you think they do.”

Advisors: Plans, Not Fads

Will you ever stop underperforming your own investments? The rollercoaster market naturally spurs you to chase trends and lose sight of what you really ought to do: Stick to a well-advised plan of long-term payoffs and goals.

Avoiding Crisis After a Death

Most women understand too well the odds that later life might find them alone financially. Among baby boomers, for example, an estimated seven out of 10 wives will outlive their husbands. If you’re one of these women, how do you prepare?

Advisors: What Women Need

Anyone familiar with John Gray’s Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus knows the premise that men and women communicate very differently. Perhaps this explains why most female investors prefer to work with a female advisor and most married women leave a male advisor after the husband dies. Starting with the first conversation, women want, need and deserve distinct treatment from financial advisors.

The Magic of Advisor Collaboration

The strength of the best advisor-client relationships is a collaborative spirit.

Clients bare their financial and personal lives to an advisor: That dumb investment you made in your friend’s ice cream parlor, the huge mortgage you took out to buy a McMansion, your plans to have a child in a year or so. Based on that candor, the advisor’s task is to give you clear-eyed counsel, using solid know-how and experience.

Women’s Financial Planning

In his best-seller Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, John Gray talks about men “going to their caves.” Yet in financial planning, both genders often retreat from difficult situations and decisions. This harms financial futures – especially women’s.

Gurus’ Advice: Be Skeptical

Many financial celebrities, like Dave Ramsey, hand out advice for an audience of millions that rarely applies to a real person. Instead of following their one-size-fits-all rules, you should make decisions based on your unique situation.

I’m not saying you should disregard what Dave or any of the other financial gurus out there has to say. What I am saying is that we need to take their advice with a grain of salt.

Advisors and Better Returns?

Can you quantify a smarter way to own mutual funds? Vanguard Group thinks so. It believes you – and specifically your advisor – could add more than three percentage points to your returns by adopting seven principles.

Vanguard, which specializes in low-costs index funds, recently published a report that lists the seven value-added types of advice that advisors can use to potentially fatten your performance. To make their idea a reality, of course, you need to choose the right fund manager.

Using Advisors: Start Early

Congratulations, recent 2014 graduates. You now embark on an exciting new chapter of your life. You are eager to start a career and work toward achieving all your goals. But where do you begin? How do you make the best out of your first paycheck, and others to come, to finance for your ambitions and dreams in life? Answer: Get a good financial advisor.

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