5 Tips To Find An Advisor That Has Your Back


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I feel that the biggest challenge Millennials face these days is trying to find someone to help them design a financial strategy.

Millennials –those born in the 80s and 90s, also known as Generation Y – care more about topics such as paying down student loans, starting a family, putting their children through college, becoming debt free, and having a reserve of cash. Many aren’t as concerned about retirement planning.  They have questions like:

  • Which payment plan should I choose for my student loans
  • How can I get rid of them faster?
  • How do I stop living paycheck to paycheck?
  • What investments do I pick in my 401(k) at work?
  • Am I saving enough?
  • Should I utilize doctors loans to purchase a house over a traditional mortgage?

These questions and many others are very important –even urgent. But they don’t typically generate the sales commission or annual fee that traditional financial advisors are seeking. This is exactly why the traditional financial advisory business model is dead. Many people who really need a financial advisor are the ones who don’t have enough assets to work with them.

So how do you find a financial advisor or planner that has your back – someone that has your best interest at heart?

How do you avoid the ticks of the industry, waiting for you to get off track in the thicks? I put together 5 easy tips for you to develop a Clear Path to financial success. Before I start I want to say that you don’t always need to pay a financial advisor for financial advice. Some questions you’re going to have are easy to answer. Just ask them in the comments below or send me a message.

1. Don’t pick the tick.

Ticks are nasty. They suck the blood out of you and your pets until their fat. Unfortunately so do some financial advisors. Not all fee-based financial advisors are horrible to work with. I know some really good ones that adopt “a fiduciary standard”. I don’t know hat that works out, but okay. The reality is financial advisors that accept sales commissions (fee-based) tend to put their clients in investments and insurance products that have high fees and expenses. Those fees pay the commission. In addition, the internal fees that you don’t see can siphon much of your hard earned investment returns, costing you as much as a Maserati Ghibli -like a tick.

2. Keep your costs down.

Minimizing cost is a critical part of every investor’s toolkit. The lower your costs (the fees and expenses you pay to your financial advisor and his brokerage firm), the greater your share of an investment’s return. Research suggests that lower-cost investments have tended to outperform higher-cost alternatives.

The punishing effect of investment expenses on wealth is like wind, sun and rain pounding on painted wood over time. There is a lot of damage. – John F. Wasik

 3. Seek a Specialist.

A Specialist understands YOU. They work with people just like you all the time. They’ll work with you to address your student loan issues, plan for a wedding, and help you build the life of your dreams. And they’ll be excited to do it. They’re not going to estimate what retirement looks like because that’s over 30 years away and absolutely useless. However, they will help you start building the foundation for financial independence. Working with someone that’s a generalist can help you, too. But, it’s probably not their cup of tea. They’ll be less committed. How can you tell if a financial advisor or planner specializes in your needs? I’d recommend reviewing their website. Like ours, it should be clear as day whom they work with. If you are just a small section of their website, move on young padawan.

4. Work with a Fee-Only Financial Planner.

Regardless of your age, how much money you have, race or gender, you deserve trusted financial advice. Fee-only financial planners do not accept sales commissions. They do not accept payments from other professionals for referring you to them. Like us, they often have a Fiduciary Promise and will put their name to it. It looks something like this:

  • We will put your interests first – ahead of our own.
  • We will eliminate conflicts of interest wherever possible, and provide full and fair disclosure of conflicts that are unavoidable.
  • We will provide you with a full and fair disclosure of all fees.
  • We will not accept payments for recommending any investment to you.
  • We will not accept payments from other professionals for referring you to them.

I can’t tell you how great it feels to work with someone and just not having to guess at their ulterior motives. We’re not about products and transactions.  The result?  There are none of the conflicts of interest inherent in commissioned broker transactions. I feel that in a fee-based model, where advisors accept commissions, it almost always seems like they dig a ditch, throw you down into it and offer their product, as the only way out of it. Finding fee-only financial advisors is a bit more challenging. Out of all the financial advisors out there, we only comprise of 2% of them. That’s a small number. We cannot service everyone and so, we’re not knocking on your doors or ringing your phones. You can find many professional fee-only financial advisors at XY Planning Network and at the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA).

5. Find someone that can work remotely.

Who knows where life is going to take you. You’re a Millennial. For all I know, you like spending the best years of your life traveling to places like Nepal. And like I mentioned, finding the right financial advisor and planner that’s right for you is a challenge. So work with a financial advisor that can work virtually. An advisor that can work virtually with you can provide you many conveniences. For starters, you don’t have to rush through traffic and drop the kids off to a sitter to meet with your advisor. Second, if life happens to require you to relocate, you can pack up your iPad and bring your advisor to your new home. Lastly, if you want to just pick up and go, regardless if you’re in Nepal, Fiji, or backpacking across Europe for the Summer, you can still check in with your advisor and not neglect your financial wellbeing.

Concluding Thoughts

There’s a lot of things that I wish for. World Peace. Health. Happiness. People that do their job.

I’ll be the first to tell you I wish money didn’t hold the social importance that it does. Regardless, the fact of the matter is that in order to maintain a comfortable way of life in today’s world, you need to have financial security. I’ve personally seen far too many people work far too hard and too long to not have a dedicated plan for their livelihood. Many of which worked with a financial advisor. It doesn’t matter if your financial advisor is fee-only or fee-based, their job is to make a positive and lasting impact on your life. I don’t know how that’s possible if they’re not integrated into your life. If your financial advisor only wants to meet twice a year, I’m not sure how impactful it’s going to translate to your life. If your relationship with your financial advisor is mostly transactional (e.g. portfolio reviews, investment changes, and updates), they’re really not integrating with your family. If you don’t hear from your advisor but twice a year, you’re not at the top of their agenda.

If you have questions that you would like me to answer, please leave a comment or shoot me a line. We can help. That’s why we’re here. You can learn more about our services above and please take the time to subscribe. Thank you.

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Showing 5 comments
  • Sarah Smith
    Reply

    My husband wants to get a financial advisor. Thanks for the advice about finding a specialist that will help you build towards financial independence. Another thing to consider is finding an adviser that is licensed and experienced.

    • Tom Martin
      Reply

      Hi Sarah! Let me know if you both would like to talk to me. I’m a licensed financial advisor and work with clients across the country. I’ve help young families organize their financial house so that can pay down debt faster, free up cash flow, and save for their life goals. I’m a fiduciary and always work in my clients best interests. You can schedule a free conversation with me here: http://bit.ly/1qNK99K

  • Bobby Saint
    Reply

    You made a good point to seek a specialist when looking for a financial advisor who would help you plan your future. A specialist should be able to provide you with expert advice and makes you feel comfortable with what he is saying. It is important that you get to have a good working relationship with this specialist because he will play a huge role in terms of preparing for your future. One way to find one is by searching online and reviewing their credentials. This would somehow give you an idea if the person is indeed the right financial advisor for you. If I ever need to hire one, I would definitely take this into consideration. Thanks.

    • Tom Martin
      Reply

      Thanks for adding, Bobby.

  • independent broker dealer
    Reply

    You have wonderful views which are evident from your writings. Keep posting such kind of blogs as they are really informative, wish you good luck for your future blogs and hope they receive as much appraisal as you have got now.

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