For every delighted client you have, there are plenty of consumers out there who will never seek financial advice because it’s just not on their radar and there are others who actively avoid financial help. And then you have those who go out of their way to put down the services those in our industry provide...
In this post, I'm going to tackle a handful of those negative beliefs about financial advice.
Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion — no dispute there. But I wanted to share what I, as a financial advisor, would say to common objections we hear in this industry. Sometimes a little insight on how others respond can be helpful in crafting your own responses.
Now, yours may be different and you may not even be a financial advisor, but if you're in the industry at all, it can be good to consider how you might respectfully and effectively respond to comments like these.
Hypothetical Naysayer: "Just find a few things to invest in and leave it alone for 30 years, simple! What do I need a financial professional for?"
I don’t disagree. From an investment return perspective an advisor may or may not necessarily bring much value to someone who can passively invest enough today to walk away and not touch it for 30 years. Maybe you DON’T need an advisor in that case. You could buy a basket of low-cost ETFs that mirror the major market sectors and not look at it for 30 years (but which ones, and should you reallocate during the 30 years, and if so when?) From a rate of return perspective, your chance of optimizing returns would likely be as good as anyone else. But wait, what am I doing… I’m not supposed to be sharing advice!
Hypothetical Naysayer: "Can’t I just manage my retirement accounts myself? I don’t want a bunch of useless research and I don’t want to deal with a salesperson."
“Investing is the easy part.” That’s what we tell our prospective clients. It’s the last thing we focus on when we’re moving through our planning process. Just like buying the building materials is the easy part of building a new home from the ground up. The heavy lifting is in the planning : formulating a vision of the future home, drafting a blue print to guide construction, aligning the sub-contractors to appear and finish at the right time not to impede the progress of another or the project itself.
Hypothetical Naysayer: "Put money aside and don’t touch it until retirement — can’t be that hard, right? Why would I pay someone to tell me that?"
If you can actually do that, great. But this also assumes there’s no planning to do between then and thirty years from now as you prepare to transition to your post-working years. Life is full of transitional moments where seeking advice may make sense. Marriage, divorce, birth of a child, sending that child to college, changes in employment, and so on.
When you’re single and in your 30s, maybe you don’t feel like you need sophisticated planning knowledge rolling around in the brains of highly compensated fee-based financial advisors. And there are a lot of charlatans masquerading as such so it can be hard to tell them apart. But as your life gets more complicated, that’s when it could make sense to seek advice. Life’s transitions are often complex and different for everyone, that’s really where we earn our keep.
Hypothetical Naysayer: "Why would you charge me to have my 'assets under management'? Can’t you just charge an hourly rate when I need to your services?"
Have you considered the total amount that would be paid if we were to charge by the hour versus a percentage of assets under management? Many would find the hourly rate too steep.
Say you’re a business owner, you’d likely be better off paying a monthly retainer to a CPA to monitor money going in, money going out, actions that needed to be taken on a constant basis. The alternative is scrambling at the end of the year trying to figure it all out yourself and clean up any messes. Or paying a high hourly rate to fix the mistakes when you’re in the thick of it.
Consider this as well, if you pay $300 an hour, will you apply the advice given to you on your own? I know that if my contractor were to do that — bill me by the hour for advice and then say, go get ‘em, tiger, my house would have never gotten built, let alone on time and budget.
I find most folks are thankful and surprised by what our team does for them. They’re glad they don’t have to worry about it, or deal with financial institutions and their seemingly endless piles of paperwork filled with intimidating and confusing industry language themselves. It’s nothing earth-shattering to us because it’s just the way we operate. We deal with it every day, but to folks who don’t, it’s a big deal. It still surprises me when folks are taken aback by all the work we do for them, but the thank yous we receive are heartwarming.
Hypothetical Naysayer: "I just don’t see the value in working with a financial professional."
Sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. We do our best to help people pay less in taxes, potentially avoid unnecessary risks and take advantage of planning opportunities in the financial and legislative landscape as they change over time.
This reminds me of my mom running a seasonal store in Colorado selling expensive trees. One day a patron commented on the high price of their trees compared to the cheaper ones right up the street at the hardware store. My mom asked if she could tell the difference between their trees and those and the woman said she couldn’t really see any difference. At that, my mom encouraged them to buy the less expensive tree. She didn’t believe the young couple should pay such a high price for a difference they couldn’t see.
You get what you pay for and if you don’t see the value in working with a financial professional, then you’d be better off not paying for one.
Any financial professional worth their salt doesn’t exist to “convince” a consumer to work with them. There will always be those who choose not to seek financial advice or guidance and to that we say — to each their own. But there is value in the services provided by upstanding financial professionals that we believe should be recognized and appreciated.
Sure, it may not be the right time for your prospect to seek your help, but that doesn’t mean they won’t need you down the line. Although it’s never a good idea to work with someone who doesn’t recognize your value, it’s important to continue to nurture those prospective clients who aren’t ready to work with you (yet) but want to learn more about what you do and how you do it.
It may simply be they’ve never come across a financial professional who actually wants to make a positive difference in their lives versus make a sale. You can be the one that helps elevate our industry in the minds of the public.