Before you spend your hard-earned money on anything, especially financial advice, it’s important to understand what you are getting in return. It’s tough trying to invest or make informed financial decisions on your own. Some people don’t have enough knowledge. Others lack the time and passion. That’s where financial advisors come in handy. However, you must know some truths before you pay for financial advice. Here are four shocking truths about paying for financial advice.
1. There is serious conflict of interest
Most people don’t know this, but there are massive conflict of interest issues in the financial advice industry. The reason behind this is simple. Financial advisors receive financial incentives for recommending certain financial products and services. For this reason, the recommendations you receive may not necessarily be the best for you. The conflict of interest factor is huge in the financial advice industry since you (the client) are trying to make money off your money and financial advisors are trying to do the same. Furthermore, you are more attractive (as a client) if you have a higher net worth (more money to invest).However, this shouldn’t be mistaken to mean that all financial advisors care about themselves more than their clients. Some advisors want to see you get the best returns. Unfortunately, most will give you advice based on the amount of commission/s they will earn from you. It is therefore important to understand what’s in it for an advisor before paying and acting on advice. For instance, you should find out if your preferred financial advisor has any affiliations with the financial products/services. In a nutshell, you must be certain you won’t receive biased advice because your advisor will earn a commission or other perks, directly or indirectly.
2. Financial professionals can never substitute personal financial education
Many people who seek financial advice are guilty of relying too much on the advice they get. This shouldn’t be the case. You need to have a basic understanding of what your advisor is doing/telling you to do with your money. Educating yourself constantly also allows you to ask tough questions. You are in a better position to compare returns, analyse risk, identify conflict of interest issues, question advice, etc. if you have basic knowledge and you are open to learning. Unscrupulous financial advisors love clients who have no knowledge or interest in learning about investments. Your chances of getting advice to buy a financial product or service you don’t need are very high if your financial advisor notices you don’t know anything or know very little about investing and you aren’t interested in learning. Financial advisors work best if you are equipped with basic financial knowledge and a genuine learning interest so you still need to learn even if you are paying for financial advice.
3. Most financial advisors fail at helping their clients
This is also shocking but true. The fact is; the people who help you the most and make a lasting difference in your life are those who genuinely care about you. We’ve already talked about conflict of interest above, so it’s easy to determine if most financial advisors really care about their clients. What’s more is; financial advice is just a small part of the equation. Most financial advisors fail because their help stops after giving advice yet many factors come into play after a person has received financial advice. For instance, you need to act which is rather obvious but commonly overlooked. Many financial advisors give their clients direction but fail to give them the passion to act and other important tools like goals. However, let’s not forget the fact that financial advisors aren’t obligated to follow up. Furthermore, they don’t gain much by doing this unless they are working with high net worth individuals. Now you know why high net worth individuals tend to get the best financial advisory services.
4. You don’t need to pay for financial advice
Since you still need to know about personal finance and be open to learning even if you have a financial advisor, do you need to pay for advice? Well, No! You don’t have to pay for financial advice. You can learn everything yourself and be able to make informed financial decisions. The internet is packed with free and useful financial information and resources. Don’t get me wrong though. A financial advisor will save you a lot of time you would have otherwise spent learning about investing, analysing opportunities, etc. Nevertheless, you must be financially literate to become rich!