As a client-focused retirement and income designer, I've long experienced frustration and disappointment with how the financial services industry sometimes treats the people who need them the most.
Instead of approaching clients and prospective clients as individuals requiring care and compassion, there's been a tendency for advisors to use the same "recipe" for everyone. In the name of efficiency and perhaps profits, retirees and pre-retirees have their individual needs suppressed in favor of an assembly line approach, replete with arcane rules of thumb that may or may not be applicable.
The aim appears to be to get people to purchase a product as quickly as possible so the agent or advisor can move on to the next person.
Clients often have questions and doubts. Seniors worry about making financial mistakes that will come back to haunt them when they are older. Yet, the financial services industry is somewhat cold and dismissive regarding these concerns, preferring to hand out promotional materials rather than financial TLC. I feel this cookie-cutter method ultimately shortchanges clients, perhaps even lulling them into a "set-and-forget" mindset that doesn't allow for the many life and perspective changes the average person experiences as they get closer to retirement age.
When you think about this lack of customization and individual attention, it seems to mirror a complaint about modern medicine I've often heard. Some of my clients have expressed concerns that their medical providers seem more focused on seeing as many people as possible daily rather than building trust-based relationships with clients. Due to a myriad of constraints, modern doctors usually don't have the time to ensure the prescription and protocols they're writing are suitable for a particular patient. This situation can make some folks feel like numbers rather than humans.
But it wasn't always like this. There was a time when the family doctor was embraced as a member of one's extended family. They made house calls, followed up regularly with patients, or visited them in the hospital. Every aspect of health, from emotional, to physical, to spiritual, was incorporated into the wellness plan. Those were indeed the good old days of people-centered medicine. I chose my nickname, "The Family Money Doctor," because it harkens back to when doing the right thing for clients was the first order of business, not an afterthought.
Doctor, doctor, give me the news.
Americans are encouraged to get annual physicals, especially as we age. These exams help our primary care physician assess our health and make recommendations based on collected data. That's why we know to select our primary care physician carefully. We rely on our chosen physician's experience, knowledge, and judgment to ensure optimum results.
Building a long-term relationship with a trustworthy doctor will significantly increase our chances of staying healthier as we enter our golden years. You should do the same thing regarding your "money doctor." Instead of viewing your financial decisions as one-time concerns to be quickly completed and forgotten, perhaps you should take a more thorough approach. This is also true when choosing a financial guide.
Many people find their advisors with a single internet search, the way they'd look for a pizza restaurant or oil change place. They want to find help quickly and might pick from a "Top Ten" list or review site without a thorough investigation. Others will ask their friends or co-workers for the name of their money expert ("My cousin's wife's nephew sells insurance…") without assessing that advisor's competency or suitability.
However, just as treating your medical decisions in such a cavalier manner might lead to adverse health consequences, so too could entrusting your wealth to an advisor about whom you know little to nothing. For this reason, I became "The Family Money Doctor." I wanted to emphasize the connection between how you treat your health and how you treat your finances. It was one way I could help my prospects and clients think differently about money.
You may need very few medical or financial interventions when you're still young. But, as you get older, you'll probably discover that your need for competent, trustworthy advice has grown exponentially in both the health and wealth spheres. You may realize that the tools, products, and protocols that got you physically and financially fit when you were 25 are not the same ones needed to maintain this level of health at 55.
Is it time for a checkup or a second opinion?
As with many chronic illnesses or medical conditions, significant money problems often emerge in our 40s. Sometimes, you need a specialist to diagnose and solve these conditions. That's why if you're over 40, it may be the ideal time to start looking for an income and retirement advisor. These financial professionals have the specialized training and product knowledge required to turn retirement accounts into wealth streams.
Even if you already have an advisor to help you accumulate and grow wealth, your planner may not possess the skillsets necessary for the distribution phase of your life. There's nothing wrong with having an accumulation advisor. But, when you're ready to spend down your cash, you need someone who can help you make the right decisions, so you won't run out of money when you stop working. Having The Family Money Doctor on your advisory team makes sense. I'm always happy to help hard-working Americans review their retirement plans, check for gaps and shortfalls, and make recommendations. If you'd like a no-cost, no-baloney review of your current blueprint or a free copy of my latest book, Fortifying Your Financial Kingdom, go here: