Financial Advisors: All Shapes and Sizes

In today’s world financial advisers come in all shapes and sizes. Or you might say all shapes and sizes of people having anything to do with other peoples’ money like to call themselves financial advisers. I suspect however that financial advisers, by the average consumer’s definition, would be individuals who render personal financial planning advice for a fee.

That said, it doesn’t seem to take much to convince some consumers that there are financial advisers who would offer their “unbiased” expertise, at no charge, as long as it culminates in the purchase of a commissionable financial product. I.e., “I’ll tell how to save for your kids’ college, retire at age 55 and buy your dream vacation home as long as you spend $425 per month on a whole life insurance policy”. Sounds crazy, but it happens all the time.

While I suspect there are fine professionals who make their living selling commissionable financial products, holding themselves out as financial advisers borders on misrepresentation. When we think advisers, whether we’re talking financial advisers, tax advisers, legal advisers and so on, right or wrong, we’re thinking objectivity is a given. But when so-called financial advisers get paid only upon their clients’ purchase of a commissionable product, objectivity is of course forfeited in the process.

While trust is earned over time, when it comes to financial advisers, interviewing only those who operate on a fee basis and who have earned their CFP (Certified Financial Planner) designations increases your odds of receiving legitimate unbiased advice…

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