What Advisors Don’t Tell You
I recently spoke with someone about a year from retirement who had a big problem that wasn’t being addressed, so I wanted to share it with you in case you find yourself in the same situation as them.
During this free retirement planning session, this couple said, “We’ve had an advisor for years and they do a great job, we really like them, but we’re a year or two from retirement. We started doing some research on retirement planning, which led us to your YouTube videos. After watching a few, we wondered: Why isn’t our guy bringing this stuff up? I shouldn’t be discovering this on my own.”
How can you really know if your advisor, or someone who’s going to do a quick checkup for you, is bringing up all the important things that can improve your retirement? I wanted to share two things to use as a filter when you’re talking to an advisor.
Do I Need a Specialist or a Generalist
Number one is getting clear on what you need. If you’re close to retirement you might realize it’s not just about maximizing returns anymore or building up the nest egg to get as big as you can but rather how to create tax-efficient withdrawal plans, and then how to take the least amount of risk possible when it comes to investments with the highest chance of success. Make sure you’re talking to a specialist versus a generalist.
Specialists typically work with one type of client instead of anyone and everyone. The problem for you is that specialists may cost more. The way I think about it is if you absolutely needed a very important surgery, and you found a general surgeon five minutes from your home who’s done the surgery you need one other time, and then you found a specialist surgeon who only does this one type of surgery and has done over 2,000 of them, but he’s located on the other side of the country.
The chance of success in the surgery is so much higher for the person who’s done it over and over again, so the value is so much higher too. That’s why knowing what you need and then finding that specialist can be really important. The second important thing to find out is how many clients they help.
How Many Clients?
We’ve seen a lot of people come over from some of the big firms that you see on TV because they realized after six months or a year that their advisor wasn’t being proactive. Don’t get me wrong, these massive firms are really needed for the majority of people in this country because most people don’t have or need custom planning to really optimize their retirement. However, specialty firms are necessary for those people who aren’t too worried about running out of money but know that there are things that they can do to optimize their plan and reduce the amount of tax that they pay, etc.
When you’re thinking about big firms, it’s hard to be proactive when you have more than 100 clients. It’s hard to think about and plan for them all. We just know that through how many relationships we can have in our life. Everyone wants something different, but going deeper with fewer people allows your advisor to be thinking about you when they’re looking at or reading about wealth transfer strategies – it’s more likely that you’ll pop into their head if they have fewer people to think about because it’s so custom.
For us at least, it’s more about relationships than revenue because when you work with a select few people, it allows us to go to the funeral of a client who passed away or to go visit a client who has recently been admitted to a long-term care facility.
To recap, if you’re doing research and getting knowledge about retirement and looking at your retirement more closely, and if you’re going to think about talking to an advisor, find out if they specialize in retirement planning and then make sure they’ve been doing it for a long time, 10 years at least. It doesn’t have to be, but it’s always nicer that they’ve had experience. Then, find out how many clients they have helped do what you are looking to do.
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