As a Certified Financial Planner and financial adviser, I can’t count the number of times I’ve had new clients come to me filled with frustration over their prior experiences with financial service professionals.
And it’s easy to understand why: not all financial advisers are the same.
It’s hard to understand what role they play or should play in your financial future. There are Financial AdvisOrs, Financial AdvisErs, Financial Consultants, Financial Planners, Investment Adviser Representatives, Registered Representatives, Insurance Salespeople, Bank Financial people, Certified Financial Planners, and the list goes on.
Having a title doesn’t necessarily mean knowledge or experience. And there is a big difference between who is a fiduciary and who is not.
A fiduciary is legally bound to place your interests above their own. Some “advisers” or brokers will look to sell product vs. creating solutions and plans. It’s no wonder why you may be feeling more confused after your meeting.
Here at Sloan Advisory Group, it’s our mission to educate clients to make smarter financial decisions with confidence. And based on our experience and what we know to be true, we wanted to share our newly created Bill of Rights for Women Investors (equally applicable to men).
No matter who you are or where you’re from, here’s what you should expect:
1. To Be Treated As An Equal
Let’s make one vital thing clear: You are smarter than you believe.
You may be tempted to protest with “I don’t understand what this investing thing is all about” or “it’s way too complicated.”
And to that I’d say: Be kinder to yourself. You are more capable than you realize. Don’t allow past experiences to diminish your confidence.
From this day forward, refuse to be spoken down to you about your finances. Find an adviser who treats you as an equal, and who respects your role as an active participant in your future.
2. To Be Given Clear And Comprehensive Information
Whereas some financial representatives may talk down to you, others may try to confuse you by purposely offering unnecessarily complex information. If you’re confused, you may not understand what you’re being sold.
I believe every investor has the right to clear information. To understand the philosophy and strategy to investing. And every investor should have a financial plan – a road map for what’s ahead.
3. To Be Confident In Your Investments
Let’s say you’re at a cocktail party. An acquaintance is boasting about a recent stock purchase – one that doubled overnight. What would your reaction be?
If you imagine you’d feel a pang of envy or FOMO (fear of missing out), you wouldn’t be alone. That’s a natural human emotion.
Many people let that feeling drive their investing decisions — and, unfortunately, end up in a zero sum game. Which is why it’s so important to understand what you own and why you own it.
Trying to find the one stock that will hit a home run over night is hard to do. Much harder to do this over a long period of time. So if the odds of outperforming the market with one hot stock over long periods of time are so low, why is this a primary focus of so many?
Doesn’t it make more sense to go with the flow than row against it? There are effective investment strategies that are designed to go with the flow.
4. To Understand Your Portfolio
New clients often come to me with portfolios they don’t understand. Why own something that you don’t understand?
Many investors believe no one understands their portfolios or it’s just them — but I can’t stress enough this isn’t the case.
Advisers should have investment strategies or philosophies on how to build and maintain wealth. And it should be easy to communicate this to others. If you don’t understand why something’s in your portfolio, ask. If you still don’t understand the answer, find another adviser to work with.
5. To Work With An Experienced and Trusted Adviser
When I hear client stories about their past advisers, I shake my head in disbelief. It’s no wonder people distrust the financial industry as a whole.
If an adviser just “doesn’t feel right” (an experience many clients have described to me), listen to your gut instincts, and look for a new one.
You will be spending a lot of time with your new adviser and it’s a good thing that a smile appears when they call. It’s recommended to seek advisers who are Certified Financial Planners (CFP®). This is the gold standard of certifications in the financial industry.
And when you’re interviewing advisers, look for someone who’s not only an expert, but who’s also an educator, a listener, a coach. They should be open, caring, professional, and ready to share their knowledge, experience and wisdom.
The next time you interact with someone in financial services, make sure to remember this bill of rights. Carefully think through whether it’s being honored, and if it’s not, find another adviser.
Take your time and remember, you are looking for a trusted advocate who can guide you towards a life of financial confidence, walking with you each step of the way with patience, assurity, and kindness.
If you’d like to consider talking with me as you go through your selection process, then lets chat. I offer a FREE 30 minute introductory call so we can discuss what’s most important to you.
And finally, don’t forget: you are capable and intelligent — and working with others who see that too – can create the confidence needed to make smarter financial decisions.