In my last blog post, we took a look at a few of the reasons why I love my job as a financial advisor. Some of you may have been rolling your eyes about the joys I get to experience every day, but now we get real and look at a few things I’m not exactly a big fan of as a financial planner.
That’s right, it’s not always roses and unicorns every day. Sure, I do love what I do, but there definitely some things I could do without. These are only my views and don’t reflect the views of NextGen Wealth. This is me getting to the down and dirty you probably won’t hear from most advisors.
Right or wrong, these are the things that bug me or I wish we could improve upon as an industry. Hope you enjoy and feel free to share your feedback if you feel some of the same things in your own career—or feel free to call me out if you think I’m being a whiner.
Not saying that I’m a control freak, but, hey, I like to have the option of at least taking control if needed. Well, as you may or may not know, the ups and downs of the stock market are out of my control. While some clients think I can control the down swings, I sadly cannot.
I can do everything possible to ensure my clients are invested in a well-diversified portfolio that matches their goals and comfort level to a T, but I can’t assure them a positive return every year. I truly wish I could and it would make a job a whole lot easier, but like I said, it’s out of my control.
There are all kinds of forces that control the ups and downs of the stock market, but it’s never just one thing and nor is there some kind of conspiracy when things don’t go as we expected. The biggest thing I can control is how my clients react when they do see their accounts decreasing in value. As long as I can keep their emotions in check—which can be difficult at times—I know I’m doing my duty as a behavioral counselor and that’s just about the best I can do when it comes to controlling the market.
We have to take lots of tests as financial planners. Some more than others, but if you’re going to be a reputable planner, you’re going to at least have to take a test or two.
Sure, nobody likes tests and I can certainly agree with that. However, many of the tests are so antiquated and memorization driven that they provide no value when it comes to serving the client. Needing to know crazy banking laws that have been put in place over the last ninety years isn’t going to help my clients retire any faster.
Needing to know how to run various retirement calculation numbers without utilizing financial planning software that I’m going to be using every single day isn’t going to do me any good. I could go on and on, but you get the point. Memorizing something for only the amount of time we need it in our minds—forgetting it exactly after the test is taken—isn’t going to help us be ready for or better as a real life financial advisor.
There needs to be more practical real world applications when it comes to the various tests we are required take to get licensed. In reality, this doesn’t just apply to my profession but a number of professions and actually our education system as a whole. Alright, alright, I’ll step away from my soapbox and move on.
Yep, you get to hear me moan about all of the conflicts of interest in the financial services industry again. Sorry, but it’s just another soapbox subject I feel needs to be discussed and talked about more.
Sure, things are slowly getting better and we have taken some steps in the right direction, but we still have a ways to go to clear out all of the conflicts and assure anyone who works with a financial advisor that we are always putting their needs above all others.
Most people just trust that what their advisor is telling them is the absolute best route for them, but sometimes there are other forces working behind the scenes the client isn’t aware of. I know it sounds crazy. People who work with a financial planner shouldn’t have to worry about wondering if what’s being recommended is in their best interests.
If just one person reads this and it causes them to have a conversation with their advisor, I’ve done my job. You should feel confident having these honest conversations and, if your advisor isn’t, then maybe it’s time to move on to a new one.
People: you gotta love ’em. Hey, I’m a person and I have dealt with plenty of difficult situations—some easy and some not so easy. However, when you begin to see a trend of handling adversity poorly, it might be time to have a hard look in the mirror.
Nobody likes to lose money, me included. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure I’ve done a poor job of explaining the risks of investing in the stock market, so that’s on me when someone doesn’t fully understand. However, if you’re constantly complaining about not making enough money or not getting a positive return every year, then investing in the stock market probably isn’t right for you.
You’re probably better off, emotionally, sticking your money in a CD. You’re not going to make a whole lot, but at least you’re guaranteed to make a positive return every single year and it will make your old financial advisor’s life much more pleasant.
To all of my clients reading this today, don’t worry, this does not include you. Over the years, I’ve learned to do my vetting to ensure I’m always on the same page with my clients and, most importantly, that we have a trusting and rewarding relationship.
This is one I struggle with just about every single day. Whether it’s a networking event or other type of gathering, I can always tell the people who wince just a little bit when I tell them what I do for a living. It’s not everyone, but I can always tell the ones.
I get it. Financial advisors have a bad reputation as pushy sales people. While we’ve certainly improved upon this over the last ten years, there are still plenty of them out there—I will refrain from naming large insurance companies.
I feel like I’m about the furthest you could ever be from a pushy salesperson. I’m probably more on the other end of the spectrum and should actually be better at it than I am. However, I always like to look at things from my own end. As long I know what someone does and I’ve built some trust with them, then I want to be the one to reach out to start the conversation. And that’s exactly how I do it.
Certainly I tell people what I do and how I’m different, but I’m never going to be pushy. If they want to start a conversation or have some questions, I want it to happen organically. They know what I do, they know who I am, they know who I serve, and if they want my help, I leave it up to them to reach out.
I know this isn’t something that’s going away anytime soon and I’ve certainly come to terms with it. I know that I’m doing my best to turn our reputation around.
So there you have it: a few things I struggle with as a financial advisor. Many are just personal soapbox issues, but like I said, it’s not always roses and unicorns. Transparency is something I try to practice every day, so I thought it only necessary to be completely honest with my readers. Now back to studying for another meaningful test ;-)
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