Financial Advisers: Why You Need One

After nearly 50 years of managing my own money and building what many people would consider a fairly large nest egg I reached the conclusion that the world of finance and money management had become so complex that I needed professional help. Moreover, in my retirement years, why would I want to spend my time, even more valuable than money, on dealing with all the decisions and paper work?

If only I could find a professional I could trust, then I could not only make my life simpler, but also do something for my wife. What a terrible situation spouses find themselves in when the mate who handled all the financial matters dies. Think of getting a financial adviser as an act of love for yourself and your spouse, if you have one.

So I spent a lot of time attending financial seminars and meeting financial advisers, but nearly all of them failed to impress me enough to sign on with them. Eventually, however, my wife and I met someone we liked, respected and trusted. There has to be very positive chemistry between you and an adviser.

Here is my best advice to others. What you want to aim for is getting a professional with many years of experience who helps you preserve, grow and enjoy your money.

The older you get in this highly fast paced and uncertain world the more you see the need to put the highest priority on preserving whatever wealth you have accumulated, especially when you have stopped working. This is all about risk management. It takes wisdom and intelligence.

But you also want to grow your nest egg to some extent, mainly because inflation is always eating away some of your money. Plus you never know how something may happen that can hit your savings hard, perhaps a terrible medical event. The best advisers are wise enough not to chase the highest returns on investments, but still find opportunities that deliver more growth these days then the ridiculously low rates on what banks and government bonds offer. One critical thing I learned after I got an adviser is that there are investment opportunities that only the best professionals have access to, not the general public.

That third goal of helping you enjoy your money does not get enough attention by either most advisers or consumers. In addition to giving you more free time and reducing stress, the best advisers act as life coaches assisting and motivating you to better enjoy your money. They will help you feel comfortable in spending whatever money is necessary to fulfill your strongest desires while at the same time making you feel that you in no way are risking your wealth and long term financial needs. Since getting an adviser I spend considerable more money on travel and entertainment than I ever did. At the same time my wealth has increased from sound money management and investments.

All these positives can only result from a strong personal relationship and the ability to have as much time with your adviser as you want and need.

You also want to look for an adviser that has some well known and respected accreditations, such as CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER, probably the most impressive one. It must be an accreditation earned through serious examinations. The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority offers useful information on selecting a financial adviser. Personally, I was always turned off by marketing efforts from large financial companies; most of the time the people were too young and inexperienced and I felt that they were using a formula approach for all their clients, rather than providing the most personal service and plans.

Lastly, after you spend at least 5 to 10 hours in one-on-one meetings with a potential adviser. Also meet all their colleagues and staff. You should get a list of current clients and call several of them to have a conversation about what they like and dislike about the adviser. Put the emphasis on learning about the ease of meeting frequently with the adviser and how your financial plan and performance will be updated and reported, respectively. Most advisers charge a small percent of what money they manage for you and may offer other benefits, such as covering the costs of a tax preparation and estate planning documents.

If you make the best choice, your quality of life will improve and you should avoid getting stressed out about financial security no matter what is happening on Wall Street, with the stock market or the craziness of the political world. You will be mystified why most of your relatives and friends do not have a financial adviser. The people I know who think they are smart enough to manage their own finances seem not smart enough to see the benefits of sound professional support. Just like you see the need to get the very best medical help, you need to see the wisdom of seeking the best financial expertise. In some ways it really is a question of life and death. With less financial stress you will be healthier.


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