It Takes A Team

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Published by Mark Schlipman

It Takes a Team: Taking the long view in a short-sighted system
Recently, I spoke with a physician who was stunned that his colleagues did not have adequate money for retirement. Incredulously, he said to me, “You take a person who earns $400,000 per year and multiply that over 30 years, that is $12 million dollars of earnings. How can they not have saved enough?”

In my reply to him, I explained that a successful retirement is not defined solely by having just enough to cover basic needs and a few wants. We often find with planning that there are a lot of things people wish to have the ability to do, such as gifting money to Grandchildren, supporting a charity, or traveling the world, just to name a few. To meet our goals, it is imperative that a person works with a Financial Advisor that has the capacity to offer holistic financial planning.

In other words, it may not fully be the physician’s colleagues’ fault that they are not financially prepared for life after retirement. In fact, the blame could very well lie with their brokers.

A few weeks ago, I visited with a broker who wanted to ask me a few questions about how we “do what we do.” When I asked him his value proposition, he stated, “It’s all about the returns.” Ultimately, he believed his value is judged by the returns he earns his clients. In further questioning, I learned he had lost and gained a few clients over the years; however, he felt his practice was growing each year. I then asked him, “How many clients have successfully reached their retirement goals? And, how did you align their portfolio and savings to accommodate?” This broker gave no real answer.

The broker’s replies (or lack thereof) made me question if he and many other advisors have the wrong perspective on how they add value. Sure, everyone loves gains. But, even a 20% gain each year still might not be enough for a client to reach his or her personal goals for a successful 25 year plus retirement. If the client’s personal goals and game plan are not communicated and executed, then we as Financial Advisors have failed.

To the public, the investment space is a building full of brokers with the capacity and resources to provide proper investment planning and wealth management. Under the auspices of authority and client interest, many of these brokers work as silos on their own clients. They “do what they do” to maintain and/or solicit business from clients and prospects in order to gain commission and fees and to gather assets.

But, if the conglomerate of client resources-“advisors, brokers, planners, insurance agents, wealth managers, wealth coaches, strategic investment analysts, and retirement specialists”- are all viewing their real value around investment returns, then who is truly winning at this game? In this system, the brokers are the true winners not the clients.
To change this outcome, brokers must evolve into financial concierges who spend their time and talents on creating personalized wealth plans focused on making their clients’ dreams reality.

To my physician friend and the broker, I told them that a Financial Advisor who understands and enacts this seismic shift in wealth management is critical.  But, advisors can’t go the road to retirement alone.  At a minimum, they should also be accompanied by a team with a Dedicated Research Department, Investment Committee, and a Wealth Enhancement Group that includes a CPA, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Financial Planner, and a Chartered Financial Analyst.

With the right advisor and a dedicated team, clients will realize that small, well-communicated changes throughout the year can make an astonishing impact on reaching long term personalized retirement goals.

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