By: Mike Gertsema
Over the four decades plus of my business career, I’ve been very fortunate to have great business coaches and mentors guide me. A consistent message from my mentors and coaches was “Mike, instead of working in your practice, block out time to work on your practice.”
I naturally love working in the practice and working on the practice at first felt awkward. As I worked on my practice, I found – with the help of professionals – I was able to make better decisions in business. How to expand, the wisest way to move forward, how to take into consideration the time, money, additional expenses, and the tax considerations in making a move or making a change – all decisions I faced when working on as well as in.
Mentors and coaches have also been very helpful in keeping me up to date regarding the state of the industry and the trends of the consumers. Sometimes when you live in a small city you lose track of what’s going on in the world which can hurt your business.
Much like businesses of the past – Blockbuster, Toys “R” Us, Borders, K-Mart, Payless Shoes and Sears to name a few. Some would argue they’ve disappeared because of technology and the inability to adapt to the consumer’s demands.
Whether you’re improving your personal financial life or improving your business, many of the principles are the same, and adaptability is crucial.
The financial services industry is in the same situation because consumers today are demanding more value from their financial advisor. It’s no longer just the Investments – it’s risk management, advising on what they should consider doing, if anything, and to move forward in getting ahead in life.
The consumers today are better informed because technology can bring information right to the phone in their pocket. They want to utilize technology to simplify their life, give them information instantaneously, and use it as a tool to help them make better-informed decisions.
Consumers today do not want to be sold a product and don’t like to pay commissions. If they’re sold something with a commission involved, they’re wondering if the purchase was in their best interest or the person that sold it.
Consumers want value from their purchase decisions and want complete transparency on what they are purchasing. They want to know all their costs, and know how the broker, consultant, investment executive or financial advisor is getting paid.
The trend is also to work with a fiduciary. To be considered a fiduciary, the broker, consultant, investment executive or financial advisor is required to act for the sole benefit and interest of the consumer which is different than suitability. Suitability is nothing more than being appropriate, so some investments can satisfy the suitability test, but not the fiduciary test.
Working in your life and working on your life
So, we’re talking about working on rather than just working in your practice. What if we changed the operative word to “life”? Are you working in your life? Have you taken time to work on it – improving your personal financial life?
Are you able to look at your life financially and wonder if you’re getting the most out of life? Is there a goal, a dream, a debt or an item on the bucket list that you think is out of reach?
What about your investments and your financial plan – are they digital so you can make changes and get instant results?
Are your investments protected from a market correction and is there technology available to verify it or are you just trusting your financial advisor?
Have you considered the tax law changes in 2018 and 2019 and the possible benefits to your financial future?
Working with a Fiduciary
Having a financial advisor that is also a fiduciary can function much like my business coach does. They can help you find the modern technology and resources available to simplify your life, give you information instantaneously and help you make better-informed decisions.
Adjusting your portfolio for goals, risk, or performance, updating your retirement plan, analyzing different scenarios that you’re thinking about or taking advantage of tax law changes could be the difference between dreaming and living the dream.
If you’re currently paying a fee and assume your advisor is a fiduciary, think again. Some advisors charge a fee, set the investment strategy, and forget it. If you’re not paying a fee and your advisor is calling or meeting with you on a regular basis and calls it “service” to make a trade and generate a commission, it could be suitable, but is the advisor a fiduciary and held to a higher standard?
Most people think their current advisor is a nice person and they’re “pretty sure” they’re getting value. Or they work with a large national firm assuming those advisors must be the best. Or people simply don’t know what’s available or think they can’t afford the best advice.
Think again, the marketplace is evolving at a record pace and if advisors and large firms aren’t able to change or won’t change and recognize the consumer’s demands, they will disappear, just like the businesses that are no longer here.
Maybe it’s a good time to shop around and see what’s available today because at the end of the day it’s all about you and working on improving your personal financial life! Get in touch with us today to see how we can help you live the dream instead of just dreaming it.