We all know the power of emotions. Unfortunately, financial conglomerates who sell investment products and insurance know this best. Investors know it too. They put their guard up. They have a hard time trusting any kind of “expert,” fearing that they’ll be taken advantage of. Which is why everyone needs a financial advocate. But what is a financial advocate?
A financial advocate makes recommendations about your financial situation based on your needs. It's someone who treats your situation as if it were their own. A financial advocate is a fiduciary. All advisors have a moral obligation to put your interests first. And fiduciaries also have a legal obligation to put your interests first.
Everyone's opinion depends on who pays them. In this industry, advisors are paid by many parties. It's easy to see that some of these may conflict with your interests. Some of these are in direct conflict with your interests. According to the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, Americans lose around $17 billion every day due to conflicts of interest. This has to stop.
It's my mission to stop this manipulation. Wherever possible, we shine light on conflicts of interest. This allows our clients to avoid being manipulated by these “experts."
I say it all the time – the financial services industry is a confusopoly. It's an industry that intentionally confuses consumers to make a profit. By unpacking the confusing pieces, we can put a stop to this.
An experienced fee-only advisor is another form of a financial advocate. Fee-only advisors receive fees from the client only. They forego commissions (and other payments) from selling investment products and insurance. This means they don't have those conflicts of interest.
Remember, fee-only and fee-based are not the same thing. Fee-based financial advisors refer to anyone in the financial services world. "Fee-based" means an advisor can charge fees or commissions. This means there may still be a major conflict of interest. Good salesmen won’t explain the difference (at least not in a way you can understand). In fact, they may tell you that they’re the same thing. But you now know that they’re not! You’ll have to ask an advisor directly if they are fee-only or fee-based. Get it in writing! This term was created to purposely confuse consumers.
Fee-only financial advisors help you make the right choices, minimize unnecessary taxes and set up an estate-planning strategy. This will assure that not only you are taken care of but that your surviving spouse and children are as well.
Want to talk to a real fee-only fiduciary who has your best interests at heart? Contact us with any questions or to schedule a complimentary financial review.
As an investor, you probably know that financial conglomerates and life insurance companies put their own interests before their clients’. After all, financial conglomerates have a legal duty to put their shareholders’ interests first.
What you might not know is, if you can’t trust the financial conglomerates and life insurance companies, who can you trust?
More than half of serious investors rely on a financial advisor for investment advice. Unfortunately, investors give their hard-earned wealth to unscrupulous salesmen posing as financial advisors every day. That’s why I started Global View Investment Advisors. I unpack the confusion investors face from the financial service confusopoly. Our advisors provide advice, and we use the same investments that we encourage our clients to use.
Did you buy the story that big banks and insurance companies tell you in TV commercials? We can’t blame you for thinking that all your retirement dreams would come true. But you must be careful – ads that make hefty promises and use high-pressure sales tactics couldn’t be further from the truth. These types of organizations prey on investors.
When hiring an advisor to manage your money, make sure the advisor is a fee-only fiduciary. To do that you need to learn how they conduct their business. Ask about things like:
- Commissions – Does your advisor accept commissions of any kind? This means they have an incentive to push products. And these products might not be the best products for your needs.
- Fiduciary – Is your advisor a true fiduciary? Who is their top priority?
- Investing practices – Does your advisor invest alongside you? Do they have skin in the game? Would they use the same products being sold to you · Shareholders – Does the firm your advisor work for have a board that he or she must report to? This could be a major red flag of a potential conflict of interest.
If you take anything away from this article, it’s this: Be cautious when seeking investment advice from a financial conglomerate. These firms generally seek to maximize profits for their shareholders as a first order of business.
Be very wary before working with advisors at insurance firms. Life insurance firms always find an angle to sell insurance because they make half or even more of their profits from investment income. I hope I'm not boring you with these details. But having worked at an insurance firm headquarters on Wall Street, I know. Life insurance companies take in premiums and hold them for a long time before paying claims. While holding them, they get the returns from the bonds they own. But because interest rates are rising, the returns on bonds may drop. This puts pressure on their profits. They also must pay huge commissions to the agents selling them. These firms are financial pressure. Not a single public insurance firm has a good competitive advantage (Morningstar).
Sadly, most investors don’t come close to capturing the returns the market offers. There are three reasons for this:
- Investors fall victim to their emotions and end up buying and selling at the wrong times.
- Unscrupulous salesmen know how to take advantage of this and trick investors into buying the wrong products. Be cautious of "guarantees."
- The financial services industry pushes the right buttons. This causes investors to be persuaded by sophisticated advertisements selling them dreams. But some of these dreams may not be obtainable.
Don’t fall for one of these scams. Before you turn over your life savings, do the research. Choose a true financial advocate. We know how hard it is to accumulate wealth. Don’t give it away so easily.