In 96 hours, millions of Americans will step into the voting booth to decide who will win one of the most highly publicized (and politicized) presidential elections in our history.
As both candidates have told voters, the choice is clear who to elect. Concerns about the deficit, jobs and how to grow the economy are key issues that will drive voters to vote as Nov. 7 nears.
Now, imagine you are stepping into the same booth to vote for your investment adviser. Are you closer to meeting your retirement goals than when you began working with this person? Are you better off now than you were four years ago?
Investors choose who they want to work (or not work) with to help them achieve their financial goals. There are many choices in the investment world.
Some investors choose to manage their assets themselves using discount brokerage firms. Others use salespeople who charge commissions for their services and those advisers who charge fees for the services they provide. These salespeople are compensated at the time they sell a product to an investor. They are required to ensure that the product you’re buying (stock, mutual fund, annuity) is suitable at the time you make the transaction. The broker has no incentive to follow up with you down the road to see how you’re progressing toward your financial goals or navigating a turbulent market.
A fee-based adviser who charges a fee to manage your assets or give you planning advice is held to a fiduciary standard that requires them to put your best interest ahead of their own on an ongoing basis— not just at the time you invest. This adviser is with you along the way to help you meet your goals. I recommend using a fee-based adviser.
At our firm, we provide daily account performance monitoring, so clients can track their progress and measure how they’re doing in meeting their retirement goals. Investors should inquire about what type and frequency of performance monitoring is available before signing on with an adviser.
As the election results come in on Tuesday night, ask yourself about the choice you made to work with your current investment adviser. If you had to vote on whether or not to re-elect your financial adviser this year, how would you vote? The choice is very clear on who you should partner with to meet your investment goals.
I have learned through experience that your gut instinct is usually right; maybe, it’s time for a gut check.