Working With a Financial Planner - The New Way
BY JACKSON WOOD, LIFTOFF FINANCIAL PLANNING
Does the idea of thinking about your money and finances make you feel anxious? If you said yes, you’re not alone. A lot of people are too scared to look under the hood at their own finances, diagnose the potential problems, and develop a plan to fix them.
This is terrifying to us at Liftoff.
I argue that talking about finances shouldn’t be anxiety-inducing (see this post), but the fact remains that money is something that most just don’t enjoy talking about.
Brian Portnoy talks about this in his book The Geometry of Wealth,
“Most of us think that talking about money is: Embarrassing, not classy, inappropriate, confusing, intimidating, immoral, boring, or some combination of those. Spouses struggle with honest conversations, adult children and elderly parents find money discussions painful, and we rarely talk to, let alone educate, our children on the matter. Other studies show money is either the first or second most important issue behind divorce. Many couples would prefer to talk about infidelities rather than how they handle family finances or how much money they earn.
There’s a pretty good chance you know a great deal about your best friend’s marriage, health, and job, but close to nothing about his or her finances. What’s your best friend’s salary? Is he deeply in debt or has he saved enough for retirement? Does he have a budget?”
There is one professional whose purpose is to make those conversations possible and less painful in your life: a financial advisor. Your advisor’s job is to analyze your financial situation, ask you about your dreams, and design a plan to get from point A to point B. Sounds great, right?
The only issue is that most financial advisors ignore you unless you have a giant pile of money for them to manage. Why is that? It’s because most advisors are stuck operating in the last century. Most financial advisors work solely off of what is called the “AUM” model (which stands for Assets Under Management). What this means is that an advisor gets paid a percentage, usually between 1.0 and 1.5 percent, of the account that they are managing for you. The AUM model works great and attracts a lot of advisors if the pile of money is large enough. For example, let’s say you had $500,000 for an advisor to manage. If the advisor charged 1% of AUM, they’d earn approximately $5,000 per year for managing your portfolio.
If you’re paying $5,000 a year to an advisor, you’d better get a lot of their attention. You certainly deserve it. They need call you regularly to check-in, they need to be there to answer your calls when life changes, and they need spend hours building you custom plans to reach your goals. Ideally, they should do whatever it takes in order to keep your account under their management because that means they keep the advisory fees. I think that this model works well for certain people.
But it sucks unless you have a giant pile of money for the advisor to manage.
What if you’re a young professional who has managed to save up $20,000, and you’re excited to get started on building your future? If you allow an AUM-only advisor to manage your assets, the advisor would earn approximately $200 year. That certainly wouldn’t demand as much attention from the advisor as the client that’s paying $5,000 per year.
But you still matter.
Attention from an advisor shouldn’t be predicated upon how much money you will make them. What if you don’t even have any saved assets but you still need help? Well, you’re not alone.
We have hundreds of financial decisions to make over a lifetime, and we need help analyzing these situations and making the best decisions. We have children, we get new jobs, we have to set up our 401(k)s, we have more children, we have credit card debt we need to pay down, we have a mortgage, student loans, we need to figure out the best way to save for a vacation, we have to pay for our kids college, we need to open IRAs, we need to plan for retirement, we need to understand Social Security, pensions, life insurance, health insurance, we need help determining our risk tolerance in markets, we need help with asset allocation, rebalancing, fund selection… you get my point, right? But working with a traditional financial advisor doesn’t make sense unless you can turn over a giant pile of money for them to manage.
Unless you work with a financial planner, the new way.
The solution to this problem is for an advisor to change how they are serving clients. We built Liftoff to solve this exact problem, so we charge a monthly retainer and provide a tailored financial plan to answer all of your money questions. You get top-quality service for a clear price, and you don’t have to have hundreds of thousands of dollars to get started. This model is perfectly in line with all of the other professionals that you trust to provide a service, like your accountant, your plumber, or your personal trainer.
If you need to go to the gym, you pay a monthly membership. You pay monthly for internet access, cell phones, and almost everything this way. Why shouldn’t financial planning be the same? With Liftoff, it is.
Our fee starts at $75.00 per month, and is based on your individual situation.
We offer our clients unlimited access to their financial planners, and we give them our full attention when it’s needed. Liftoff also offers access to our cutting-edge financial planning software where we aggregate all of your financial data into one secure location. You can see your current financial picture, track your progress over time, and we can set up tasks to keep you moving forward.
The numbers update in real-time, and provide extremely valuable data to us and our clients. It helps us shape our clients’ financial behavior (which is one of the most important parts of advising), chart your progress, and stay in tune with your financial journey.
This is the new model of financial planning: paying a flat fee for a service that you need. You work hard to build a comfortable life and reach your dreams, and you deserve access to financial planners that are excited to work with you. We work with you every step of the way, and strive to build you an ever-evolving financial plan so you can feel secure with your money.
Let’s build a plan together and take the fear out of money.
Schedule an appointment here.