5 Keys to Unlocking Lifelong Wealth with Your Financial Advisor
I’m often asked why financial planning is best accomplished when handled as a lifelong relationship. The simple answer?
“Advice is best given from someone who really cares about you and has a vested interest in your successes. “
Consider, who you call when you are having relationship problems. Is it the stranger from down the street? A casual acquaintance? No. You call someone close to you, your best friend perhaps or a family member. Why? For the same reason mentioned above; they care about you and the outcome, and their advice comes from a position of enlightenment and it’s personally tailored to you. They know when you overreact and they know when you are vulnerable. Simply put, they know you and how to best help you help yourself.
5 Keys to Unlocking Lifelong Wealth
There are many benefits to having a true partner when seeking out lifelong wealth.
Here are 5 key points that will make a tremendous impact on unlocking lifelong wealth.
- Know Each Other
I find in any relationship, professional or otherwise, having an intimate knowledge of the other party allows truly tailored advice. The beauty of this is that it makes it possible for both parties to be unguarded and, as a result, it provides for honest, unbiased and heartfelt guidance.
- Have Discipline
Discipline is often a challenge for many of us in so many aspects of our lives. Add in the complexity of money and the discipline game becomes almost impossible to handle. Having someone help you stay the course and avoid making emotion-based decisions becomes an extremely valuable resource. Oftentimes, these decisions can have a lasting effect on your financial wellness.
- The Value of Care
It may sound hokey, but most of us have a pretty good BS meter. I find it extremely valuable working with someone who truly cares. Think back to the people who you know in your lives that really care, and I can assure you when they talk, you listen. When people have a vested interest (they care), they’ll be around to witness the impact of decisions made. Authenticity can be hard to find. People, and professionals, who don’t care, move quickly past what matters, if they even ask about what matters in the first place.
- The Value of a Coordinated Plan
Integrating your plan through all aspects of life makes it organic; a living organism to which both parties claim ownership. Once given legs a coordinated plan has the added benefit of being continuing while influencing others long after you are gone. A lifelong advisor can help track the plan and monitor the course, which can add clarity and confidence in how one makes decisions.
- Ongoing Effort
Providing financial guidance is not a “one-time engagement.” To have it work, to have it be meaningful, much more is needed. My partners and I firmly believe there is so much more value to having a plan; one that gets implemented, overseen, and adjusted when necessary.
Obstacles to Achieving Lifelong Wealth
Wouldn’t it be nice if lifelong wealth were a simple linear path? Unfortunately, it isn’t. Obstacles can erode wealth and dampen people’s spirit towards achieving wealth wellness. Here are a few I’ve noticed:
- Relationship Complacency
The advisor and client must continually evolve their relationship; otherwise, you can find yourself falling down an unproductive, lazy path. Even if little has changed, it’s always important to set regular goals and meeting expectations.
- Momentum Drift
To paraphrase Isaac Newton an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion will stay in motion with the same speed (and in the same direction) unless acted upon by an unbalanced force. I couldn’t agree with him more. It is a common occurrence for an advisor to talk with a new prospective client where excitement is the outcome. They agree there is so much good work that can be done in their partnership. Next thing you know, months pass with numerous unanswered communications. Eventually they fall off the advisor’s periphery. This would certainly be OK if the new prospect simply found a better option, but that is almost never the case. Instead, they are set on a course, often times flawed or dangerous, with not enough unbalanced force to change their motion.
- Performance & Accountability
I’m not talking about “performance” as it applies to investment returns. Rather the most notable performance metrics should be the overall performance versus ones goals: the net worth growth, capital preservation, capital protection, and tax efficiency. Assessing the right metrics can have a huge impact on your ability to stay the course.
- Depth of Expertise
You want to work with someone who acts as a fiduciary; someone who should have the designations and expertise to handle your unique circumstances. Although no two people are alike, working with an experienced advisor in your demographic (i.e. doctors, executives, business owners) always helps for a stronger level of knowledge about your unique needs and possible obstacles.
Ways to Increase Your Chances of a Lifelong Advisory Relationship
Now that we know the keys to success and the common pitfalls, it’s worth discussing ideas to increase your likelihood of lifelong wealth – how to select the right financial partner.
- Hire a Fiduciary
While this is the newest “en vogue” thing these days, it doesn’t make it any less true. At the core, a fiduciary relationship is one where the advisor works in your best interest, not theirs. Please don’t confuse that with their ability to get paid for their work. A fiduciary relationship has all parties working for a common goal on the same side of the table.
- Hire a Fee-Only or Fee-based Advisor
This allows for transparency on everything and lends itself to insure fiduciary standards are met.
- Hire an Advisor with a Track Record of Lifelong Relationships
When interviewing a new advisor ask them the average tenure, or retention rate, of a client relationship. This is a quick and simple way to ascertain if they are dedicated to a lifelong partnership or just focused on making upfront commissions.
- Work with Advisors Who Have Lifelong Processes in Place
Go ahead and just ask, “What procedures and practices have you put in place to insure a long term relationship and my lifelong wealth?”
Now you are well on your way to a healthy and lifelong relationship with your finances and your financial advisor.