I love being a Certified Financial Planner. Truly, nothing is more fulfilling than seeing a client happily retired and living comfortably off a portfolio that we carefully crafted together and built over time. They worked hard for their success, and I get to celebrate just a little bit with them knowing that I helped them tackle some tough questions and tasks along the way.
Sometimes though, I avoid telling people I am a financial advisor.
Because bad apples have tarnished my profession.
There are “advisors” who entice people to buy expensive whole life insurance products that they don’t need. There are “financial planners” who convince clients to roll their growth-oriented IRAs into high fee annuities with the promise of low volatility.
Recently, a new client came to me with two annuities. There is no way this particular client should have been prescribed an annuity based upon his unique circumstances. None. He asked me, “Why do you think my old advisor recommended them?”
2) the commission
Today, I heard about a young family who was sold a $1,000,000 whole life insurance policy. They can’t even afford the massive monthly premiums! Why on earth would a financial professional think that was a good idea?? Again, either ignorance or the commission.
Honestly, I’m not sure which is worse…
You might be able to tell that this topic has me a little heated, so I had better continue with this statement. Products like permanent life insurance and annuities are appropriate for some people. It’s true – they can be useful. My problem is when they are sold to people who they simply aren’t suitable for.
I’ve never written negatively about commission-based advising, because I know there are MANY wonderful financial advisors out there who earn a commission. They work hard to recommend the best investment tools for their clients. However, these recent events have motivated me to write about why I at least want you as a consumer to be aware of what buying these products entail.
When someone recommends a whole life, universal life, variable life, or any type of “permanent” life insurance product to you, ask them what they are earning from that sale. It might be a reasonable amount… or it might not be.
The next time an agent tries to sell you an annuity, please, ask the same question. Ask them if any other annuity provider would offer them a similar product for a lower cost. A financial advisor working in your best interest will try to find you the best balance between performance, service, and cost effectiveness.
Lastly, if you are my client, ask me the hard questions. If you want to work in the finance industry but don’t know how to find a firm that aligns with your values, schedule a call with me. I will happily point you in the right direction. If you want to find a fee-only firm with Certified Financial Planners™ in your area, search HERE. If you’ve seen our firm and thought and wondered what makes us different, contact me HERE.
Overall, my goal is to equip investors with knowledge, so they can make the best decisions for themselves and their families.