What Financial Advisors Talk About, and Why You Should Care
Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter
In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.
¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.
²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.
³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.
4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.
Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.
What Financial Advisors Talk About, and Why You Should Care
Since 2003, I have been a member of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, or NAPFA, which is the largest professional organization of fee-only advisors. Several years ago, NAPFA created a number of small study groups. The group to which I belong has nine members, and all of us are either solo or have one partner.
Over the past few years, my fellow group members have become trusted confidants and friends. Essentially, they are my external board of directors. We have a bimonthly conference call and meet twice per year in person; we had our winter get-together in Phoenix at the end of February.
When we meet up, it’s more like a reunion than a business meeting. On the first night of our most recent meeting, we caught up over happy hour and introduced one of our members to Mexican food at a local joint.
However, we soon got down to business. The agenda over the next day and a half was intense and focused. We compared our year’s progress against last year’s goals, and we presented business goals for the next year to the other members. Full disclosure was the group rule as we recapped the prior year’s financial reports and projections for the current year.
Because we all work on our own or with one partner, these meetings are necessary to evaluate how we’re conducting our business and to get feedback from peers. During the discussion of my goals for 2011, several group members offered some very constructive feedback suggesting that I might be spreading myself too thin. At last year’s meeting, I urged another member to charge more for her services, given the value she provides to her clients.
While these meetings are not required for continuing education, over the years we have gone above and beyond, discussing client issues, technology, countless financial planning topics, and more. Additionally, over the course of the year, these folks tend to be the ones I call to bounce ideas off of or for help in dealing with a client issue that might be outside of my knowledge base.
Why should you—or anyone—care about what I’ve just described?
Our willingness to open our books and business plans is a leap of faith. We all took this leap of faith as a means to gain feedback on our businesses and to look for ways to improve what we do and how we do it.
But mostly you should care because our conversations are all centered on how to be better financial advisors for our clients.
The next time you talk with your financial advisor or are interviewing a prospective advisor, ask if he or she meets on a regular basis with any advisor colleagues. If the answer is no, it may speak to the way the advisor runs other areas of his or her business. If the answer is yes, you can then ask about the content and subject matter of the conversations–is the advisor simply learning new sales techniques or is the advisor learning about new strategies and planning tools for the benefit of his clients?
Roger Wohlner, CFP® is a fee-only financial advisor at Asset Strategy Consultants. Roger provides advice to individual clients, retirement plan sponsors and participants, foundations, and endowments.
The Real Cost of “Free” Financial Advice
Why You Might Need Life Insurance at Retirement
Investing Tips for All Ages: 401(k) Investment Strategies
How Rising Oil and Gas Prices Might Affect Your Portfolio
Retirement Savings Strategy: Will Your Returns Allow You to Retire on Time?
How Often Should I Update My Estate-Planning Documents?
Should You Use Retirement Savings to Pay Off Debt?
Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.