Dealing with Financial Advisors

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.

4 Uses of an Advisor

What is the value of a financial advisor? The personal touch. Here are four stories of how flesh-and-blood advisors you meet in person (that’s opposed to a robo-advisor, where your contact is digital or over a phone line) benefited their clients.

These good advisors helped clients to overcome emotionally based decisions, stop them from making mistakes, figure out whether to make a big purchase and decipher arcane retirement plans. We’ll have separate articles throughout the summer describing in greater detail how they helped their clients.

Advisors: Trust but Verify

You can never be too careful with the major matters of life – especially your financial future. Take a lesson in caution from a former U.S. president and the heavily armed guards at the gates of a military facility. Trust but verify your financial advisor’s bona fides.

I have the honor to provide financial counseling to service members, going to military installations to talk to soldiers and their families regarding financial issues such as buying a home, saving for retirement, reducing debt or creating a budget.

When to Call a Professional

Can you handle your investments on your own? Some can. Many can’t. That’s not to say that you don’t have the brains for it. You may simply lack the time to master the investing world. That’s when you should consult a professional financial advisor.

What an Advisor Should Ask

A common question that we get from people after telling them that we own our own financial planning firm is: What do you ask clients at the first meeting?

Weighing an Advisor’s Biases

Is your financial advisor biased? To find out, just check two things: Is the advisor human? Is he or she breathing? If so, the advisor is biased. You need to assess an advisor’s biases in evaluating the person’s advice.

Spotting Ads That Prey on Fear

Beware your motives for investing: Pitchmen guess them and take advantage. A radio commercial running recently in my area, for example, trumpets non-traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) and, like many hawking financial products these days, the sponsors use fear to sell investment products.

6 Ways to Find an Advisor

The professional you pick to manage your assets and advise you on key financial decisions affects your retirement and other major financial goals more, maybe, than even you. Make the right choice.

When trying to find a financial advisor, you may ask your attorney or accountant for a referral. Makes sense, as you trust their advice. Just as important, these professionals cross-pollinate with the advisors of many clients (like Glassman Wealth Services), so often they know a variety of financial planners and who might fit best with you.

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