Tag Archives: know your client

The Seven Roles of an Advisor

authorMay 6, 2015
Jim Parker, Vice President
Dimensional Fund Advisors
“Outside the Flags”
What is a financial advisor for? One view is that advisors have unique insights into market direction that give their clients an advantage. But of the many roles a professional advisor should play, soothsayer is not one of them.

The truth is that no one knows what will happen next in investment markets. And if anyone really did have a working crystal ball, it is unlikely they would be plying their trade as an advisor, broker, analyst, or financial journalist.

Some folks may still think an advisor’s role is to deliver market-beating returns year after year. Generally, those are the same people who believe good advice equates to making accurate forecasts.

But in reality, the value a professional advisor brings is not dependent on the state of markets. Indeed, their value can be even more evident when volatility and emotions are running high.

The best of this new breed play multiple and nuanced roles with their clients, beginning with the needs, risk appetites, and circumstances of each individual and irrespective of what is going on in the world.

None of these roles involve making forecasts about markets or economies. Instead, the roles combine technical expertise with an understanding of how money issues intersect with the rest of people’s complex lives.

Indeed, there are at least seven hats an advisor can wear to help clients without ever once having to look into a crystal ball:

  1. The Expert: Now, more than ever, investors need advisors who can provide client-centered expertise in assessing the state of their finances and developing risk-aware strategies to help them meet their goals.
  2. The Independent Voice: The global financial turmoil of recent years demonstrated the value of an independent and objective voice in a world full of product pushers and salespeople.
  3. The Listener: The emotions triggered by financial uncertainty are real. A good advisor will listen to clients’ fears, tease out the issues driving those feelings, and provide practical, long-term answers.
  4. The Teacher: Getting beyond the fear-and-flight phase often is just a matter of teaching investors about risk and return, diversification, the role of asset allocation, and the virtue of discipline.
  5. The Architect: Once these lessons are understood, the advisor becomes an architect, building a long-term wealth management strategy that matches each person’s risk appetites and lifetime goals.
  6. The Coach: Even when the strategy is in place, doubts and fears inevitably arise. At this point, the advisor becomes a coach, reinforcing first principles and keeping the client on track.
  7. The Guardian: Beyond these experiences is a long-term role for the advisor as a kind of lighthouse keeper, scanning the horizon for issues that may affect the client and keeping them informed.

These are just seven valuable roles an advisor can play in understanding and responding to clients’ whole-of-life needs, which are a world away from the old notions of selling product off the shelf or making forecasts.

For instance, a person may first seek out an advisor purely because of their role as an expert. But once those credentials are established, the main value of the advisor, in the client’s eyes, may be as an independent voice.

Knowing the advisor is independent—and not plugging product—can lead the client to trust the advisor as a listener or sounding board, someone to whom they can share their greatest hopes and fears.

From this point, the listener can become the teacher, architect, coach, and, ultimately, the guardian. Just as people’s needs and circumstances change over time, the nature of the advice service evolves.

These are all valuable roles in their own right and are not dependent on outside forces such as the state of the investment markets or the point of the economic cycle.

However you characterize these various roles, good financial advice ultimately is defined by the patient building of a long-term relationship founded on the values of trust and independence and knowledge of each individual.

Now, how can you put a price on that?

saute image ckCharles Kochel founded Yield Wealth Management to help people and foundations invest and do good. To learn more about Yield Wealth or set a time to visit email info@yieldwealth.com.

This blog is not to be used for investment advice.

Dumb and Dumber, Americans Lack Education

Given the fact how important money is to navigate life, Why Don’t Schools Teach Kids About Money?

teach the young about money

It’s not surprising that our nation tries to “keep it in the middle” – somewhere between economic crisis and financial meltdown. The Fed (our nations monetary policy authority) tampers with the availability and cost of money and credit to promote a “healthy” economy. This is nothing more than an illusion to create public perception of what they (the fed) want us to see. Nearly $4 Million Foreclosures, $1.1 Trillion in Student-Loan Debt, $845 Billion in Credit Card Debt — my simple mind can’t comprehend trillions and billions, but it seems clear to me that us adults don’t know that much about money

middle path

SIMPLIFY ~ This is a long-term problem that has become a major issue for my generation (X) and future generations to come. I have never understood the simple fact that financial education is not a part of our kids curriculum. I remember learning about dinosaurs and cave men at a very young age, but I was never taught that money represents purchasing power. Schools do a terrible job (in my opinion) teaching children about sex, no one wants to talk about it with the kids, yet sex dominates teen conversations. Sex learned from peers and magazines is usually bassackwards. It’s trial and error from there. Some serious embarrassing moments and mistakes are costly, even life changing. It’s the same with money, we get timely information at the coffee shop, learn from the media and magazines that are selling drama. A costly mistake with our finances can also be costly and life changing.

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teach money young and often
Let’s help future generations avoid the financial mistakes of their elders. They need taught the essentials about money. In the past decade, I have personally reached out to decision makers at the elementary, middle-school, high-school and university level to offer this service … not one has taken me up on my offer. The President’s Council created Money-As-You-Grow, a wonderful guide on how to continuously educate yourself and kids about money…but how many of us even aware the website exist.

teach kids money

3 Year-Old kids can learn the concept of saving and spending. The University of Cambridge published report revealing that kids’ money habits are formed by age 7. It’s time to look further than the root of the problem. It’s time to focus on the seeds of the solution – educating our kids and helping them Let’s make it priority to focus on the seeds – the children are the solution

The Artist and The Engineer.

~ Create something Bigger than Yourself ~

creativity

The artist and the engineer usually live in different worlds, but when they work together, well that’s when you can get something really new, something special, because when great thinkers work with great doers, one plus one can equal three. ~Sony Entertainment

Diversity has created cultural ghettos. Today, diversity is a given, but communication between the artist and the engineer (religious, political and cultural) differences is not; it is an achievement. Mere diversity without real relationship will only increase tensions and decrease ingenuity.

finger pointing

What does it take for people living in different worlds to work together? How do we make the world a better place to live? Acceptance, Appreciation, Communication, Respect and Empathy is a good starting place. Keep your hands in your pockets if you can’t help but point fingers. It’s the way things are, but that doesn’t mean it’s the way of the future.