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Planning Well and Avoiding the Sharks

December 13, 2006

This will be our last podcast until 2007. Heidi is going on vacation (New York), and will not be back in time for us to get another podcast recorded.

Today’s topic is a recap on where to get good advice and what to watch out for. Unfortunately, my industry still has too many short sighted individuals. What I mean by this statement is that there are a lot of advisors, brokers, agents, and reps that are looking for the big score, and could care less about the long term financial health of their clients. My personal belief is that if you do good things for others it comes right back to you. Fortunately for me and my company most have not realized that you can make more long-term money by being good to your clients.

The Five Signs of Bad Financial Advice by Suze Orman

According to Fair Isaac (the company that created the FICO credit score system) 79% of people surveyed stated that financial professionals were their most trusted source for personal finance and credit information. That is scary in light of the statement I made earlier about how many in my profession are blinded by the easy money and improper products for clients.

Suze’s other bad advice indicators include: 1) You Own a mutual fund with the letter “B” in its name 2) You pay the advisor through commissions rather than a flat rate 3) Your life insurance is a cash-value policy 4) You own a variable annuity inside of an IRA 5) You’re saving for your kid’s college education rather than for your retirement

Objective planners to help with your financial decisions:

National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA)This is the group of planners that require all of their members to be Fee-Only advisors and everyone must take a Fidiciary Oath to put their clients interest ahead of their own. Not to mention they actually are concerned with the experience level and education of their members. This is the only organization that I smile as I write my annual renewal check each year.

Garrett Planning NetworkThe only downside to NAPFA is that many of their members (including myself) have minimum asset requirements for new clients (This is not because we are snobs, but as with all service industries I am limited by my time. Minimums allow me to provide outstanding service and not over extend myself). Garrett Planner’s work only on an hourly basis, so they can help provide you with the objective advice you need without the high minimums.

Have a Merry Christmas and THANK YOU for a tremendous 2006! My podcast could not have grown without your iTunes reviews, positive emails, monetary support, and subscribing to the show. May 2007 bring many blessings and opportunities to you and your family.

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