I like to know how things work, because it makes me feel like I have at least some control over what’s happening. Even if it’s brain surgery, I would like to know what is happening inside my head (wouldn’t we all?), and at least an outline of what the surgeon will be doing. Being included in the process at even a basic level is empowering in the extreme.
Thanks to the internet, you can learn how to do almost anything on your own. You can learn to weld, cook, sew, speak another language, or even make your own nuclear reactor! With so much information available, the world of financial planning has had to change dramatically.
The same rules of education apply in financial planning, and are crucial to selecting an advisor that is right for you. There are thousands upon thousands of different factors in financial planning, including budgeting, all types of insurance, debt management, job selection, planning for retirement, and estate planning. The job of a good advisor is not only to dig through all of those options to find the best ones for a client, but to also explain why those options are superior.
One of the main reasons that many advisors don’t like to explain their recommendations is that they don’t want clients to know how much they are making. Particularly in the areas of whole and universal life insurance or alternative investments, many ‘financial advisors’ make recommendations that will line their own pockets without much consideration for helping the client achieve their goals. I’ve spoken with several advisors who are friendly and open right up until you ask how they get paid, at which point they make it seem like you just asked for the U.S. nuclear codes.
Jackson and I are both huge fans of open and informed decisions. We will tell you what we recommend, why we recommend it, and how it can impact your financial situation. Because Liftoff is a fee-only, fiduciary firm, we are only compensated for our advice, and have to act in your best interest ahead of our own. We pride ourselves on educating clients to the point that they understand their financial plan, and can become even more involved in the decision-making process.
If an advisor isn’t willing to explain the recommendations they are making and how they’re getting compensated, it’s time to find a new advisor.