We are creatures of habit. When we find something that works, we resist change because, hey, if it ain’t broke….
On the contrary, the job of a business owner is to in fact revel in uncertainty, roll around in the unknown, and bask in the light of change; because that’s what is needed to forge a pathway to success.
In my professional life, that push has taken me from the embrace of music, the demands of accounting, and then into the world of financial services. I have walked on the cutting shards of an inner push that tells me there is more.
Since entering the financial services business over 32 years ago, my business has shifted from commission to fee-based to fee-only; from a transactional to relationship orientation.
Even now, the push continues to create a firm that will endure into the future to fulfill the promises made to my clients and their families.
It isn’t peaceful, but it is purposeful.
When it comes to your personal financial life, change is another aspect that presents a challenge. It is one area where business owners resist turmoil because it’s a drain of energy and attention.
Buckle your seatbelts, it’s going to get bumpy.
It’s not that life has to be full of turmoil and trouble, it just works out that way because life isn’t a flat plain.
Just like in business, there are transitions that require your time, attention, and planning. Our personal lives are the same. This all boils down to your resilience muscle – how strong it is, how prepared you are, and the actions you take when an unexpected occurrence happens. Resilience is the key to propelling us forward in life.
Consider just the potential transitions that happen in a family. To name a few (there are dozens more):
1. Health concerns
2. Having, raising, and educating children
3. Dealing with elderly parents
5. Buying a home
Think about how each of these life transitions can impact your financial life. There is no right or wrong, nor should or should nots.
As a business owner, you have the focus and hopefully the team of experts to help you assess the future; whether you are preparing for what’s next or reacting to an unexpected occurrence.
When it comes to your personal financial life and the planning challenges, chances are you might not have the same level of expertise, objectivity, and appropriate team as you do in business to help guide you with an unjaundiced eye.
The reasons are plain. In business, you have a C.P.A. who is experienced in your business needs, a corporate attorney who has your back, and other experts who have a very pointed focus. They all have you and your business’s best interest in mind (otherwise you wouldn’t hire them, would you?).
In the world of personal financial planning, it’s just not that simple.
Unless you ask the right questions, you can never be too sure that the people you are entrusting with guiding you through the minefield of issues are always working in your best interest.
Here are a few important questions to ask and research when it comes to understanding the intent of your financial advisor:
1. How are you compensated? (fee, commission, referral or finders fees)
2. Do you work for or are affiliate with a broker/dealer? Which one?
3. Are you a Registered Investment Advisor? (they must give you their ADV)
4. Have you been the subject of litigation or legal actions?
5. Do you have any conflicts of interest?
Unless you are working with a fee-only advisor, you cannot be sure a financial advisor’s “advice” is genuinely objective.
It is vital that the advice you receive is not prejudiced by any other outside financial ties. Life is challenging enough without worrying that you are getting tainted information. The cost of bad, incomplete, or improper advice is too high. It just cannot be business as usual.