Fiduciary. It’s a word that gets mentioned quite a bit these days, but what does it really mean? There are a lot of financial representatives in the industry that claim they act as a fiduciary when it comes to the management of their clients’ assets, but do they really?
Put the clients’ needs first
An investment advisor that ALWAYS puts their client’s interests first is a true fiduciary; and this is the first (and likely most important!) benefit of working with an independent financial planning firm which acts in this capacity. There are some advisors who may claim to act as a fiduciary, but who receive payment based on the products they sell – more like a financial salesperson. Utilizing a financial planner who works on a fee-only basis means the only payment they receive is the management fee you agreed to pay for their expertise and experience. This type of investment advisor does not make a cent from the investments they put you in, meaning they will ultimately be objective and unbiased.
Take a holistic approach to financial planning
Another benefit of working with a financial planner is their holistic approach to financial and investment planning. A financial planner will take a planning first approach, meaning there is a great amount of importance placed on understanding the client’s needs. The advisor will then develop a customized financial plan based on these needs building a roadmap for current and future investments.
Keeping the investment plan on track
However, the development of the plan is only part of the story. A financial planner will also work with their clients to help make sure the plan stays on track over time – which may be even more impactful than the original building of the plan. This can be very important, because as we all know, there are a lot of emotions when it comes to finances – especially as clients witness times of market volatility. The objectivity of the advisor comes into play again, taking client emotions out of the equation and helping them avoid mistakes that could take their financial plan off track.
Building a long-lasting relationship
All in all, these benefits come together to help you build a relationship with your financial planning firm that is based on respect and trust. There will likely come a point in your financial journey where you find that your investment advisor knows as much about the key aspects of your life as they do about your finances and that you want to reach out to get guidance on all manner of both life and financial issues. Because of the relationship you’ve built with your financial planner, they become a trusted advisor and friend.