The other day, I was talking with a client (let’s call her Beth) and the subject of the troubled economy came up. The stock market had dropped over 300 points on that day and most major news outlets had made it a point to report the “bleeding” on Wall Street. The conversation reminded me of something Beth and I had talked about several weeks earlier. She had indicated at a previous meeting that she wanted to introduce me to her brother. Beth’s brother is a successful doctor and she felt that he would surely benefit from a wealth management conversation with me.
Before we finished our talk, I asked Beth if she had spoken to her brother about meeting me and she said yes but that he was not interested. He said that he follows the advice of someone on the radio so he does not need to meet with a financial planner.
Working with doctors can be challenging so I had hoped for the opportunity to meet Beth’s brother. Naturally, I was disappointed that he had chosen not to meet with me; however, I was more disturbed by the underlying message. Something is very wrong with our financial education system today. Here was a highly educated doctor who publicly admits to taking financial advice from an unlicensed and unregulated financial entertainer on the radio. So I thought, what if the tables were turned? How do you think a doctor would react to the following new business in town?
Hopefully, you are laughing or at least smiling at my little joke but think about this for a moment. Would you ever go to this “doctor” for medical advice or treatment? Go another step further and consider these questions. Would you call a plumber to fix the electrical box in your garage? Would you contact an auto mechanic to fix your roof? What about asking your attorney to come over and figure out what’s wrong with your air conditioner?
For most rational people, the answer to each of these questions is no or HECK NO. Rational people call on individuals with talents specific to a particular need or problem. Smart people also look for professionals that are licensed, insured and regulated to conduct their precise business. Conscientious people also look for a professional who takes the time to understand the details of a particular issue before trying to fix it. For example, I have always liked my credit union but I wouldn’t want to get advice on how to plan for retirement from my credit union. What my credit union does best is deliver banking services more efficiently than most banks.
Serious medical problems require a team of professionals. It is not uncommon for someone to have a gastroenterologist, a cardiologist, and a pulmonologist working on their case. On top of this, they might visit with X-ray techs, surgeons, and even dieticians. How does an average person sort out all of the recommendations from these professionals? That’s where the primary care doctor comes in. This is the person who monitors and coordinates all the information from the team of professionals in order to help the patient make good decisions.
That is what I do for my clients. I help my clients coordinate the efforts of all their financial services providers to strive for the desired outcome which is increased happiness, success, and enjoyment. Without an integrated approach to financial matters, there is no way for a person to be sure that all of their “financial doctors” are leading them to the right diagnosis.
Financial entertainers deliver some good advice. In fact, their advice is often in line with my own recommendations. The trouble is that the good advice is often mixed in with potentially damaging commentary or ill-informed recommendations. A medical quack can diagnosis certain ailments correctly some of the time; however, an unlicensed doctor will eventually make a mistake and the consequences could be fatal. The same applies to our financial lives. Make sure you have a great team working on your behalf. More importantly, make sure that you have a financial “primary care doctor” working to coordinate the efforts of all your advisors to craft the desired outcome.
I am Kraig Strom and I am always willing to see if I can help. Sign up for my regular updates or better yet, come in for a complimentary consultation. You will be glad you did.
Kraig Strom, CFP®, ChFC® is a Certified Financial Planner® and owner of WealthyCastle.com. He can be reached at 877-297-5851 or www.WealthyCastle.com.