The Different Types of Advisors

More Than an Advisor

Great advisors not only help you with complex financial decisions, but they are your friends who support you for decades. My former business partner and mentor, George Chell, is a shining example.

I was in a cab, returning to our ship after a day of touring Belfast, Ireland, when I received a text from my father: “George passed away this morning.” He was 92.

I last saw George this past October, when he drove to my office, and we went to lunch. We ended our lunch the way we always did for the past 33 years, playing Liar’s Poker to see who would pay the tab.

An Advisor for Everyone

There are many different financial advisors catering to different kinds of investors, including those with few assets, which may surprise some people.

At a panel of advisors, they discussed the different compensation models to choose from – some charge one-time fees for a financial plan (that often appeals to the self-directed-investing-leaning individual); others charge fees based on assets, typically 1% yearly; and some charge commissions for individual transactions.

The Advisor Team Approach

The do-it-all professional who plans your financial future appears as quaint – and rare – these days as the old country doctor who cured all ills. Today’s good advisors can help you sort out your myriad money details by tapping a network of experts in law, estate planning, taxes, insurance and other fields.

Getting Free Advisor Help

Financial advisors are not just for the wealthy. If anything, the financially insecure need advisors more. If you can’t afford one, the good news is, free advisory services exist to help you stand on your feet.

“We do tons of planning for people with very limited assets,” said Anthony Canale, president of the Financial Planning Association, New York Chapter, during a panel discussion.

The Rich and Their Advisors

Rich people have different problems. For the more affluent, the financial planning process is more complicated. That’s why this clientele often turns to a team of professionals.

But there typically is one central advisors to play quarterback, coordinating the efforts of such experts as accountants, real estate attorneys, estate planning attorneys, said Stephen Stabile, senior vice president and wealth management advisor at Merrill Lynch, in an advisor panel.

The Future of Financial Advice

Financial planning looms in everyone’s life, including yours. Not all money advisors are created equal, though. Does yours do the best job for you – and how can you contribute to making your own plan?

“Is your advisor asking you, the investor, the right questions? Is the investor asking the right questions of the advisor?” said Jeffrey Vivacqua, senior vice president of business strategy at the Fairfield, Iowa-based broker-dealer Cambridge Investment Research, speaking at a recent advisory panel.

Planning Beyond Investing

Financial advisors can reach far beyond a portfolio and investments. Most people have no idea that advisors can assist with matters as diverse as estate plans and insurance, to ensuring you invest with your head and not always your heart.

“Emotions will overcome economic considerations every time,” said Tim Maurer, wealth advisor with Buckingham Asset Management and director of personal finance for the BAM ALLIANCE, speaking on a recent advisory panel.

Why You Need a Financial Coach

Advisors are coaches who see your financial blind side. Even the best, market-savvy players can benefit from having an advisor.

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” said Larry Light, editor-in-chief of personal finance site AdviceIQ, during a panel discussion for National Financial Advisor Week. He gave an example of how his advisor, Jim Ludwick of Main Street Financial Planning, got him into a free health-care program that he otherwise would probably never know he is eligible for.

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?

Listening to Gurus (Pt. 2)

Our first article looked at some reasons to often exercise caution with financial gurus such as Suze Orman. Here are more reasons to beware of gurus’ pop advice.

Stocks not for everyone. Orman enthusiastically recommends investing in the stock market. This one-size-fits-all advice misses something basic: Wall Street clearly isn’t for all investors.

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