In Part 1 of this series, we presented 6 reasons to fire your financial advisor. Here are 6 more reasons:
7. Lack of Experience
All financial advisors have to start somewhere, but don’t be one of their guinea pigs. Instead, do your homework and hire an advisor who has a solid history of success that he or she can show you. As they say, “Trust but verify.” Be very wary of someone who tries to solicit you over the phone, and never sign up with an advisor on the first appointment. Be specific about your goals, and ask how their experience would help you build your nest egg and address other financial areas that concern you. Do they have the type of experience you are looking for to grow your Investments? Again, ask yourself, “Can I trust this person with my life savings?” A “No” answer means you need to keep looking.
8. Doesn’t Pay Attention to Your Wants/Needs
Financial advisors should customize their investment strategies based on the feedback they receive from you. All investors are different, and your risk tolerances and risk preferences should be the most important factors in determining how the advisor invests your money. If your advisor doesn’t seem to care or is not offering constructive feedback on your goals, be more assertive about your needs. If the advisor still doesn’t pay attention, it’s time to let go.
You are the best person to determine your financial needs and goals. Use our free MOAAA tool to get started, and it will provide a strong basis for your discussions with any financial advisor.
9. Always Trying to Sell Something
Many financial advisors deal with some conflicts of interests. In the Part 1 of this series we wrote about finding independent financial advisors. Often financial advisors are associated with a particular financial company. Your advisor is charged with doing what is best for you, but he or she can be pressured by the company to push “in-house” products. These financial advisors can earn higher fees and/or commissions by selling you expensive investment products and/or services that may not fit your particular needs or situation. Don’t keep working with an advisor who tries to sell you something new every time you talk. Again, be really wary of an advisor whose earnings come from selling financial products, such as a commission-only advisor.
10. Poor Understanding of Products or Services
Perhaps even worse than the perpetual salesmen are the advisors who don’t understand what you already own and who try to sell you products/services that they also don’t seem to understand. An advisor who doesn’t understand your investments or the products/services available to you is one that needs to be replaced. The job of your financial advisor is to help you select the best choices for your situation, not only the choices he or she understands. Use an advisor who knows the pluses and minuses of many financial products/services.
11. Promising Lots of Guarantees
Many advisors love to use promises and especially guarantees to convince you to trust what they are trying to sell you. What they often don’t want you to know is that these guarantees have costs – real costs – that are hidden in the fine print. And the fine print includes strict conditions for you to claim these guarantees. Make sure your advisor shows you in writing all the so-called “guarantees” and their corresponding costs, because somebody, somehow has to pay for them and that somebody is you. There are no free rides. Once you learn the truth, you may find that the guarantees are not all that desirable when all the costs are taken into account.
12. “Too Good To Be True”
When a financial advisor offers you terrific results and incredible promises, you should always bear in mind that it’s probably too good to be true. Yet, so many people can’t or won’t heed this “painful-experience-tested” and sage advice. Just ask those who lost all their life-savings with the infamous financial advisor, Bernie Madoff. Unfortunately, too many people continue to be scammed by “small-time Bernie Madoffs” that you don’t hear about. These “advisors” are causing similar levels of pain and suffering even for those who lose small amounts of money. There is no worse feeling than having your trust violated. Don’t become a victim of a scam – arm yourself with the knowledge that “if it’s too good to be true, it really is too good to be true!” Don’t be fooled!
If your financial advisor falls into one or more of these 12 categories, you need to make a change. Before you have “the talk” with your current advisor, search carefully for a new one. After you have chosen and retained your new advisor, sit down with your old one and explain that you’ve decided to go in a different direction. Before severing your ties, be sure to ask for all of your financial records and other relevant documentation. However, if you feel your money is not safe, you must get your money out from the current advisor’s control immediately. Then you can search for a new legitimate, more suitable advisor.
As you can see, getting the most from a financial advisor means that you must have some knowledge about financial planning and investing. We at InvestBetterSpendSmarter.com (IBSS) will expand on some of these Financial Advisor issues in future blog posts. Stay tuned, or better yet, subscribe!
In addition, please review our free investment tools (My Optimal Asset Allocation Analyzer and TSOA Freedom Portfolio Models), which will help prepare you for conversations with your current and/or future financial advisor.
In closing, here is one of my quotes to remember…
“When salesmen push hard on your emotional buttons to overwhelm your rational desire for caution…Run!” Jim Tso, November 2013