Like so many others, I’ve been working remotely for the past year.
Instead of meeting clients at my conference room table, I’ve been seeing them through my laptop or talking to them by phone. While these meetings are efficient and productive, I’ve found them to be somewhat sterile. I sincerely miss face-to-face client visits.
When I tell people I’m in the financial services industry, more often than not the response is that I must be a numbers guy. That’s true, but the investment aspect is just a part of being a financial advisor.
Certainly investments are the primary focus, but advisors have to know about so much more. Things like the tax code, mortgage related concerns, legacy planning and every other curve ball that life might throw at a family or individual. Then there’s the personal stuff.
Over the course of the journey I learn about family members, their hobbies, health, aspirations and concerns. I not only need a broad base of knowledge, I have to be able to communicate my message in laymen’s terms and in a compliant and comfortable manner.
Everyone is anxious for life to get back to some semblance of normal. I enjoy being a financial advisor because it has put me in a position to work with so many people from diverse backgrounds. People with various viewpoints and opinions of our current events.
If you listen to people carefully you can understand how their views were formed. For example, early in my career a World War II veteran told me he wore hearing aids because he was a gunner on an airplane over France. I feel privileged that he shared his experiences with me.
Over the years, I have had educators tell me exactly what they felt about what was right and wrong with our educational system. I’ve learned quite a bit from the many auto executives that have come through my doors. It’s incredible to me how much effort and detail it takes to bring a new vehicle to the marketplace.
Working with a surviving spouse is also a special experience. It’s so much more than just expressing your sorrow for their loss of a loved one. It’s being there for them at such a difficult time.
Clearly, a financial advisor needs to be more than just a numbers person. He or she must also have the ability to listen and understand a client’s issues and concerns. Then use that information to steer them through the financial maze of life, and be there for life-changing events such as retirement and loss of a loved one.
I recently saw a study by Russell Investments, the well-respected west coast firm. It concluded that advisors could deliver more than 5 percent of value per year. That may seem a bit steep, but study after study has shown that advisors do indeed provide value.
In our current low interest rate environment, with a traditional bank deposit earning .004 percent, it would take more than 1,700 years to double your money.
I believe that advisors do deliver real value and it isn’t necessarily measured by just investment returns. The relationships and intangibles are also part of the equation. I can’t make promises, but I’m confident that it wouldn’t take me 1,700 years to deliver real value.
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Ken is a registered representative of LPL Financial. Securities and financial planning offered through LPL, a Registered Investment Advisor, member FINRA/SIPC. Ken is Vice-President of the Society for Lifetime Planning in Troy. All opinions expressed are those of Ken Morris. LPL and Society for Lifetime Planning are independent companies. Investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss