Before answering this question, let’s address the biggest elephant in the room. The financial advisory industry has a distrusted past and puts immediate skepticism in most peoples’ mind when they hear the sheer term “Financial Advisor”. This distrust for the industry is not unwarranted since there are advisors out there whose only interest is to sell you investment and insurance products that you absolutely don’t need. This sickens me and personally is the reason that I started my firm. I wanted to create an environment where the client won’t be sold any products and will be given competent and valuable financial advice/plans without any conflict of interests. However, I am not the only advisor that provides this type of conflict free & product free service. There is a new wave of advisors dedicated to changing the perception of this industry and bringing back the faith and trust in our clients. I will be creating a blog soon on “Questions to ask your advisor” so you can better weed out the good advisors from the bad.
Okay great, now that we have slain the elephant let’s get into the question. Do financial advisors actually add value or is it all smoke and mirrors? I will break it down to you like I do to my clients. Financial advisors add value on three main aspects of your life and I like to call them the “Big 3”.
MONEY. It’s all about the Benjamin’s, right? When I talk money here, I am not talking about the investment returns that some advisors “promise” that they can get you, I am talking about the money that advisors save you. Americans pay 40% of their money to taxes and 30% of their money to interest every year on average. A competent advisor can save you $1,000’s on interest and taxes with proper planning and execution. The advisor can be worth his weight in value on this aspect alone.
PEACE OF MIND. I don’t know about you but the feeling of having peace of mind over your finances is one that can’t be priced. Having sleepless nights worrying if you’re on track for retirement, or how you’re going to pay off the hundreds of thousands in student debt can be daunting. An advisor can help you build out a detailed financial plan and budget for how you need to allocate your money to achieve the goals that are important to you. All plans are unique and there is no one size fits all approach here so don’t listen to anyone on tv that says there is.
TIME. Time is the most precious thing that we have on this earth and we must cherish it as such. A financial advisor can save you time in a multitude of ways. Think of how much time you spent looking up answers to financial questions that you’ve had and still end up unsure of what the right answer was. Or how much time you’ve spent trying to create a budget or understand the statements in your 401k plan. Your financial advisor can be a one stop shop for all your financial service needs. They can also be a resource for your financial education. I insist on educating all my clients on financial concepts that are relevant to their current situation.
These are just some of the aspects where a financial advisor could provide amazing value to their clients. All in all, I do think that everyone can benefit from having a financial advisor in some scope. Some individuals may only need to see an advisor once a year, while others may get the best benefit seeing their advisor monthly. But having a trusted advisor to talk with regarding a topic as complex and emotional as personal finance is a huge step in the right direction toward financial freedom.