You've been having a series headaches and chronic stomach pain. You know something is wrong, yet after a checkup you’re told that everything is fine. Most of us would be inclined to seek out a second opinion.
However, given the above encounter was with your financial advisor pertaining to your investment plan as opposed to a doctor regarding your health, many simply continue on with an inadequate financial blueprint that will likely guide their retirement years to an early grave. It’s critical you take as much care to ensure long lasting financial health as you do your physical health.
The financial advisory business has become increasingly confusing for the public over the years as the lines between various financial professionals has become blurred. We now have some CPAs and attorneys selling investments and insurance professionals positioning themselves as financial advisors. Furthermore, some advisors represent Broker Dealers (Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney etc.) and operate under a suitability standard, while others known as Registered Investment Advisers (RIA) are held to the higher fiduciary standard.
It’s confusing to know where to go for a second opinion. Many publications have recommended seeking out a Registered Investment Advisor for an unbiased second opinion.
During your initial meeting with an advisor, have a clear understanding of what you want and what you’re going to ask as to the advisor’s qualifications.
With respect to the second opinion you will want to ask:
- What am I getting? Ask to see a sample report of what you will be provided.
- How is this different? Request to have a side by side comparison of what you currently have and what will be recommended.
- How am I charged?
Just as you wouldn’t expect a doctor to perform surgery or prescribe medication without knowing your medical history, you can’t expect to get quality financial advice if you are not willing to disclose your private information. Although maybe you’d rather not tell them about your 1000 shares of Google in fear they may suggest you liquidate, you would be doing yourself a disservice and hindering your plan. Transparency on the part of both the client and the advisor should be the foundation of any successful working relationship.
If you would like a free second opinion on your financial plan please call Doug Schorpp at 732-387-2054 x21.