Financial Planning – What You Need To Know

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Please Find Out 1)  What You Pay for Money Management and 2) Whether (or Not) That Person a Fiduciary

My approach to estate planning doesn’t just involve drafting documents.  Don’t get me wrong…the documents are important.  But attention to the underlying assets can have an even greater effect on “who gets what–when, how, and how much.”  My clients leave our planning meetings with an understanding that beneficiary designations and POD/TOD designations matter a great deal.

And, my clients often see me jump and down when they say they have little understanding of investments and little to no relationship with a financial professional.  I see two reasons why clients don’t have a relationship with a financial professional.  1) Thinking of talking about money makes them sweat, and they choose to ignore their account–especially when the market’s up.  2) General distrust of the financial services industry.  Aside–when I talk with CPAs, financial advisors, and attorneys, I often ask who they feel is the most distrusted of the three…and it seems that financial advisors and attorneys are tied.  Unfortunately, the distrust is often for a good reason.  But I digress!  That’s a topic for another article…

I jump up and down even more if a client already has an adviser, but no idea what they pay for services.  I see two reasons why clients don’t know.  1) It’s an awkward question for most people, and 2) Even if they get an answer, it’s incredibly convoluted so that they still don’t quite get it.

Also important is the difference between a financial person who is a fiduciary versus one who holds herself to a “suitability” standard. This is the point in the conversation when clients tune me out.  I haven’t yet found a way to make this a sexy topic of discussion–even when I explain the difference in total accumulation of retirement benefits over time.

I’ve noticed a lot of media coverage about this topic lately, because President Obama is behind a plan designed to protect people with retirement savings from paying excessive fees.  I’m thrilled about the media coverage, and hope that the public is paying attention.  Whether you are for or against the proposed changes, the conversation is incredibly informative and investors who listen will better understand what to look for in a financial advisor.

I’m attaching a couple of links, FYI.  One is to an NPR program, On Point with Tom Ashbrook, that I listened to last night while driving home from work.  The other link is to a Forbes article that provides insight about the proposed DOL fiduciary rule.

The Real Costs of Managing Your Money

Obama Attacks Advisors Selling Snake Oil, Lauds New DOL Fiduciary Rule

If I can help you to coordinate your estate and financial planning, just let me know.  I’m happy to help.

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