Here is What You Need to Hear
Being a great financial planner isn’t all about using data and plugging in a formula so a computer can put together a plan. Sometimes you have to give people advice they don’t really want to hear, but the fact is they really need to hear it.
Recently, I was working with a 58-year-old client who found out he was going to lose his lucrative job. Top that news off with an expensive home repair after a basement flood due to the spring rains. As you might expect, the news wasn’t exactly what my client wanted to hear: He needs to rethink his retirement goals.
It wasn’t a fun conversation, but it was a real one. I don’t imagine doctors like telling patients that they are going to have to deal with a serious or even life-changing disease, but of course, they do it because that is their job and their responsibility.
I think people should expect their financial advisor or planner to take that same kind of straightforward approach. Unfortunately, I think there are some advisors who just tell people what they want to hear, even if it will lead to a bad decision with potentially devastating results down the retirement road. It is important to work with an advisor you can trust to provide you with a realistic diagnosis of your financial situation.
The Power of Independence and Trust
One reason I really enjoy working for an independent firm like Prime Capital Investment Advisors is that our advice is not limited to our own products, nor are we incentivized to sell our customers a certain set of products. We can set our clients up with any investment vehicle that we agree is a great solution.
With the core portfolio managed by our Investment Advisory Committee, I get to spend time with people, talking openly and honestly about their life and financial goals. After analyzing the data, I am able to develop an investment strategy designed to help you reach your goal.
At the end of the day, success in this kind of relationship comes down to trust. The way we communicate is critical. I believe clients ultimately want me to guide their decisions, yet keep them in control of their portfolio. They want to know there are choices, and they value the advice we provide. I need to present them with options that will create that feeling of financial control, but these options need to be practical and they cannot be terribly complicated.
The Power of a Team
I was just a few years into my career when it became very obvious that the better off the client is, the better off the firm will be. This goes far beyond just the investments we manage for them. It has to do with the client’s overall financial wellbeing (family members included). I’ve been providing recommendations with that in mind ever since.
It is also really interesting to look back on my early days now that I am in my mid-30’s. It’s easier to relate to the seasons of life that my clients are experiencing. They are building real assets, and yet they are busy professionals with life pulling them in a lot of different directions. I better understand the value I provide now. My clients know I’m part of their team and I’ll be there as they move through all of life’s stages. They can focus on their careers and their families, while I focus on their finances.
It is a very satisfying feeling when I am invited to a client’s retirement celebration, or to one of their children’s graduation parties. The bond we develop over the years is really strong and I know they feel confident about the work we’ve done together.
Matt Brown has been serving clients as a financial advisor since the fall of 2003, and is now an accredited asset management specialist. His detailed financial planning approach helps his clients focus on their careers while resting assured that they are not overlooking opportunities to reduce taxes and properly plan for retirement. He views himself as his clients’ trusted partner. Matt graduated from Oklahoma State University in 2004 with a Bachelor’s degree in business administration, majoring in finance with a portfolio management emphasis. Matt earned his AAMS designation from the College for Financial Planning in 2007.
The preceding commentaries are (1) the opinions of Matt Brown and not necessarily the opinions of PCIA, (2) are for informational purposes only, and (3) should not be construed or acted upon as individualized investment advice. Investing involves risk. Please seek the advice of a tax professional.
Advisory services offered through Prime Capital Investment Advisors, LLC. (“PCIA”), a Registered Investment Adviser. PCIA: 6201 College Blvd., 7th Floor, Overland Park, KS 66211. PCIA doing business as Qualified Plan Advisors (“QPA”) and Prime Capital Wealth Management (“PCWM”).