In todays’ article at www.myperfectfinancialadvisor.com, we share an important issue for any investor who has an advisor-read on!
The quotes go like this: He is a terrific guy; I’ve known him for years. She is wonderful, I know her from church and the Rotary. He belongs to my club, great person, really low handicap and does very well for me. These are the typical responses heard when one is asked to describe their financial advisor. It is rare that the reply is a specific description of what the advisor actually does each and every day, and this is a problem for investors that have advisors.
It is quite important for investors to be able to describe their advisor by what they do professionally. Of course, the basic common-sense reason is you have hired a professional to do a job for you, shouldn’t you know specifics aside from “financial advice”? Imagine if you could not discern the difference between a Podiatrist and a Dentist, or worse yet, were unfamiliar with those terms? It is your retirement, savings, family’s future, and more so knowing your advisor is important.
There are two kinds of advisors that cater to the majority of people. First is an Asset Manager, which is a financial professional that focuses on investing money. For example, if you have a $1,000,000 portfolio you would hire an Asset Manger to decide which stocks, bonds, mutual funds, alternative assets, etc. to invest in. This is all they do and literally nothing else. They live, eat and breath investing.
The second type is a Financial Planner. A Financial Planner develops a plan for your finances by understanding your needs and goals then examines everything that has to do with money in your life. They look at your salary, savings, spending, insurance levels, investments, health, and more and at the conclusion of the engagement deliver a plan to help get you where you need to be financially. They may or may not include specific investment recommendations as part of this plan.
A third type of advisor does exist and they are called a Wealth Manager which is someone that does both Asset Management and Financial Planning. This third type of advisor is becoming more and more common because it encompasses nearly all an investor would need from a financial professional. It is very important to note that most of the terms described here are industry jargon, and not regulated in terms of who can use these descriptors.
Once you know better what your advisor does, and does not do, you can manage your own expectations, be better prepared to change your advisor when the situation demands it, and appreciate your advisors good work and of course help protect your portfolio and financial future. If you do not have clarity, simply ask your advisor “Are you an Asset Manager, Financial Planner or Wealth Manager?”, then listen to the answers carefully. While there is much more nuance to what advisors do for clients, it is important to have this basic understanding as a starting point to knowing your advisor.
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