Talisman Talk


January 31, 2022

Lean On Me: Get the Most Out of Financial Advice in 2022 (and Beyond)

By Jennifer Kirby, Managing Partner, Senior Wealth Advisor |
Sussex Records, Bill Withers - Just As I Am, 1971 (cropped), marked as public domain, more details on Wikimedia Commons

Winter is a crazy season for financial advisors. Money in, money out, taxes, distributions, contributions, stock transfers, tax loss selling, the list goes on. A lot of this is invisible to clients but it’s our April 15th — it’s when we shine. But every year I get asked the nuttiest questions from people: “Why are you so busy?” “Aren’t you your own boss?”

This is the equivalent of calling Ray, my CPA, on April 8th and saying, “Hey, wanna party?” Ray would laugh and hang up on me. Click, dial tone.

I am convinced if we did a better job at explaining what we do and the value it has, people would stop asking these questions, take this field more seriously, and bust down the door for advice. So here is a primer on the value of advice and how you can get the most out of us in 2022 (and beyond).

Your punch list:

· Put The Right Team in Place

· Provide Full Information

· Ask About Fiduciary Duty

· Respect the Profession

· Consider All Benefits

Put the Right Team in Place

There are three legs to the stool of wealth: financial management and planning, tax planning, and estate planning. Each area requires specialized knowledge. Sometimes attorneys and CPAs bolt on financial advice as part of their offerings. As fabulous as my podiatrist is (everyone needs a fabulous podiatrist, BTW), he is not getting anywhere near my molars. Specialized service providers should be different people. This keeps everyone in check. We can help you assemble your dream team.

Provide Full Information

The better the data, the better the advice. Just as you’d tell a doctor all your symptoms, share everything about your financial life with your advisor. And I mean everything. Every good or bad financial decision you made and why… all your dirty money secrets. We are the bartenders of money. We don’t judge your checkered financial past, or that your ex-business partner ripped you off, or that your credit card debt is troubling. We need the whole picture to diagnose and help, even if we are not handling every aspect of your money.

Ask About Fiduciary Duty

No matter who you work with, there are always potential conflicts of interest. You can minimize this by working with fiduciaries like us who are product-agnostic, clearly explain their compensation models and describe what conflicts could arise. Avoid advisors whose compensation changes based on what they sell or how often they sell it. Also problematic — advisors who sell only one type of product or proprietary products. They’ll run a plan for you, sure, but — as if by magic — their products are your best solution! This is precisely the opposite of fiduciary duty.

Respect the Profession

The stereotypical transactional stockbroker — think Wolf of Wall Street — has given the industry a bad rap. But that’s not such a thing anymore. You can still find those guys (yes, mostly guys, sorry) but reforms have made that kind of advisor less relevant. The best, most qualified advisors are like the best, most qualified attorneys, doctors, or CPAs. You couldn’t imagine life without them. They pay for themselves many times over. Many advisors obtain credentials connoting knowledge in particular areas. We spend a lot of time developing skills and care very much about clients accomplishing their goals. And, contrary to popular belief, this is not a “get rich quick” situation. It often takes years to build a sustainable practice. A senior advisor once told me, “Don’t die within the first five years of being an advisor. It won’t have been worth it.” Truth.

Consider All Benefits

When you leverage us fully, we can provide tangible benefits — a practical and actionable financial plan, a sound portfolio that matches your needs, and a quarterback who can coordinate tax advisors, estate attorneys and other specialists. There are also intangible benefits. An advisor can act as a financial personal trainer — someone who can guide you to a financial roadmap, help keep you accountable to your goals and make you feel better in the process.

So, if you want to rock your punch list and get the most out of advice in 2022, let’s talk!