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Rant Before you pick a Financial Advisor....

Discussion in 'Asset Protection/Taxes/Legal' started by Greg P., Feb 10, 2018.

  1. Greg P.
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    Greg P. Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    I ended my relationship with my financial advisor yesterday. I wanted to share my story as this this whole thing was a real sobering experience for me. And needless to say, I learned a lot of things! If you're thinking about getting yourself one for the first time, I hope you take a couple pages out of my playbook. These are things I wish I knew then... and it'll save you a whole lot of time and wasted money.

    A little over a year ago I had some cash to play with and I thought I would try to capitalize a bit on it.. and see if having an advisor would help me A) Save money and B) Boost passive income via sound investment advice.

    Let me tell you right now, 98% (yeah I just made that number up) of financial advisors are master slowlaners and I learned this the hard way. In my very last session with him, he spent 20 minutes trying to convince me that a mortgage was not worth it for a young guy like me... and I also learned he (at the age of fifty something) he rents his house.

    Yes... I had a lot of heartburn after that.


    1. Just because you trust the person referring the advisor to you doesn't mean he's a good fit for you.

    The advisor was referred to me by a former co-worker (he's retired since)... Now, this co-worker was a mentor to me and I trust the guy with my life. I was ready to shell out the fee as soon as I sat down with said Advisor... lets call him Bob. What I didn't piece together at the time, was that what worked for my co-worker (a retired slowlaner) would never have worked for me. First red flag. Missed.

    2. When you hear "You're going to have your first million by the time you're forty", run.

    FORTY?! WTF? It was our second session and Bob sat there looking at my retirement plan... and he looked so happy for me. My heart sank as I sat there watching him beam in pride for me as if I was awarded the lottery of the universe. Yeah sure, I'm a 20-something with a solid portfolio but still...

    "Bob, that seems a bit slow for me, what can I do to speed that up?" He looked over the numbers... and he regurgitated exactly what you'd expect. "Well you do have a pretty aggressive investment mix, we could always look at investment opportunities."

    Second flag. If a Financial Advisor is going to tell you something you already know... you're not getting what you're paying for. Talk to me about real estate, teach me about dividends, teach me the money system... ANYTHING!

    He didn't.


    3. You pay them to know more than you do.

    It's a given that there are a lot of financial advisors out there, and there are a lot of different belief systems around how money should be managed. Not every financial advisor knows everything - in our second session I was baffled to learn that Bob had no idea who Dave Ramsey was. (Red Flag 3) I went on to explain that I was eager to free myself from the bonds of debt and live the debt free life.

    To delve a bit more into my personals, I learned everything I know about building up your net worth by plowing through dozens of books. I'm not a financial whiz, I still get totally lost in stock market jargon and mumbo jumbo... but I at least try. I read almost everything starting with Dave, RK, Tim Ferriss, MJ - I was rolling my sleeves up and really stepping up to be the master of my finances. At the time, I put everything into eradicating my debt and wanted to at least understand how to build up capital through the Stock Market.

    When I learned of the money system from MJ I went into Bob's office and said "Hey Bob, what do you think of X dividend stock and the performance of company X right now?" Bob's response was nearly always something along the lines of 'well it depends on how much risk you're willing to take. You're young so you could probably handle a hit or two. I might advise you to do exactly what you're thinking'

    No sh*t, Bob.

    When you first meet a prospective Financial Advisor, do take a few minutes to go over the concepts of role models that you're looking to replicate. See how much the prospective Advisor knows about them... Do their eyes light up? Do they add to the content you share? Do they mention other clients taking similar approaches? Do they baffle you with some new concepts you didn't already know of?


    4. Make sure he/she believes in your style.

    If by now you're wondering why the heck I held on to Bob for so long, I actually didn't. I just spent a lot of time nagging him in the short time we had. I had already forked over the fee, I might as well eat my mediocre cake. I bothered him for as long as I could have though. I shared with Bob that I planned to start buying out properties I could rent out to tenants and was looking to boost my income in other ways.

    As I mentioned earlier, he is a classic risk reduction guy... and probably is solid for slowlaners looking to minimize their risk. He did help me plan for some pretty big tax hits but he spent a fair amount of time discussing the cons of owning a mortgage - it was something along the lines of "most people don't realize how much more is really behind the mortgage, you've got the expenses of the house, maintenance, paint, etc"

    Long story short, he was trying to convince me to consider renting for the rest of my life. We proceeded to argue about the long-term benefits of equity in one's life. This was probably the point in our relationship where I realize this was simply not going to work out. I needed a Financial Advisor who has the same 'invest in opportunities' mindset as I do.


    5. They have to add value to you. (But you have to add value to them!)

    Why do most people opt to walk on people movers in the airports? Because you walk further faster! This is exactly the way I look at the experts I pay. You count on these experts to help you get further in life. They're intended to possess the skillsets that compliment you.

    I didn't realize it up front but I do now. YOU are your own expert... you have to read... you have to watch the news... you have to understand why your money is working the way it is - but if your financial advisor can somehow compliment your expertise, you're going to have a great relationship. Would you walk on people movers if they only moved backwards? (And I don't mean because you're five years old and it's fun to do).

    I met another Advisor a couple months ago and was talked to him about the challenges I was having with Bob. And as we delved further into our discussion on Advisors, I learned a useful tidbit from him on how to build a better relationship with your advisors today.

    Financial Advisors manage a number of clients and more often than not, you're a statistic to them until you prove to them that you're able to help them help you. Tip a waiter more and they're gonna pay extra attention to you - that's how a lot of Advisors work too. I don't mean just financially, but professionally. I had a boss once who was a pilot on the side and whenever he took us up in the air, we'd sit in the cockpit and he'd always say "If you see a plane, don't assume I see it. Call it out."

    I find that the same sort of rule applies here. If you see a fascinating article or some headline that hints towards turbulence... pass it along. Make sure they know it - see what they think. The best advisors appreciate this, and they're more likely to return the favor. So help them help you.



    5. The Camel's Back: Knowing when to fire them.

    What really broke the camel's back for me was the fact that my advisor had access to all my records, all my investments, my bank accounts, transactions... Hell, he could see I was investing thousands of dollars in various companies I felt would boost my bottom line. Not once did he call me to suggest better moves.

    Most financial advisors don't care about your money as much as you do. To them, it's just fodder... If you watch the 'Big Short' you see a guy who's like 'oh... the market for mortgages is about to suck - I better save everyone!' 999,999 other wealth managers told him to STFU and sit down.

    This is exactly what people who manage your money look like - so trying to find that one guy who cares about every dime you've got as if it were his own is like trying to find Elon Musk's car in outer space without a telescope. Keep in mind, they don't have to be passionate about it, they just need to be alert. They need to call you when they feel something is off... or an opportunity comes up. They have to show that they are actively delivering value to you worth more than your fee.

    If your money goes down, it's not always their fault - but if the market or a company takes a pretty bad hit and you've got stakes on it... wouldn't you like that phone call?

    My gears were pretty much ground at that point. The last time I met with Bob, I sat down and I said "Bob, I've got some pretty big decisions to make this year - I'm buying up rental properties and starting a couple side gigs. I need an advisor that's going to be actively invested in my decisions and can help me navigate the financial challenges that may come my way."

    He did insist that he felt that he could help me out - but I needed someone with experience in the field I'm getting into, so I thanked him for his work to date and wished him the best in the future.

    ----

    Do I feel like the whole thing was a waste of time and money? Yeah, I do. Could I have prevented the headache? Yeah, I probably could have. I got burned a bit for it... but now I know what kind of questions I should be asking before starting new relationships and I get to pass it on. If you're considering your first financial advisor, I hope this helps... Plenty more Bob stories if you need em.

    Anybody else with Financial Advisor nightmares to share?
     
  2. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    On the opposite side. I’m 46 and i boosted my local Schwab office one day to deposit a check and ended up sitting down with a 26 year old financial planner giving me advice on my portfolio balance. It was obvious that all he had was book knowledge and statistics.

    Would you let a person with 40k net worth manage a million dollars for you?
     
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  3. Greg P.
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    Greg P. Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    You tell me. Age for me wasn't really the issue - it was the mentality he had towards financial management. I'd be all for making friends with Advisors who are younger to see if their mindset fits your own. Then you wouldn't need to worry about them retiring on you.
     
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  4. Fastlane Liam
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    Fastlane Liam New Contributor

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    The technical term is, "Broke Brokers"
     
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  5. windchaser
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    windchaser Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Interesting experience. I think you make excellent points but you are missing some additional ones that I believe are also very important. To put you into some context, I have worked as a financial advisor in the past and this are my main takeaways of important things to consider:

    1) Ask the advisor how he is paid. (Don´t underestimate this, I have seen many ugly things because of perverse incentives). This to me is crucial, not only to choose which method you prefer but also to better assess his/her recommendations and build trust. Mainly they are some advisors who are brokers that go in pure commission, there are also others who are paid a salary plus bonus or others that mainly get the money via retrocession fees from the products he/she recommends. Also ask how is that commission or bonus based on (it generally is assets under management or revenue). In my opinion this is crucial, all forms have their pros and cons and all of them can be good as far as you know the rules of the game. If the advisor is reluctant to be transparent, run!

    2) I would also try to avoid an advisor who does not start the relationship trying to understand your goals, your investment horizon, your liquidity needs and your risk tolerance. If the advisor tries to push a product before having all that very clear, again, run.

    Also, I don't see that problematic that he does not have a strong opinion on specific single stocks unless you are looking for a trader in a particular segment or plan to trade heavily in such stocks, it is almost impossible to be up to date in every single stock (his response trying to create ambiguity is concerning though). However, if he does not have a view and an opinion on the markets or the economy... that would worry me a lot.

    3) And last but not least, follow your gut, you have to be comfortable with your advisor and make sure he alligned with what you need and want, choose someone that you like and can rely on.

    My 2c, I hope you find them useful and helpful!

    Sent from my SM-G920T using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Feb 10, 2018
  6. windchaser
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    windchaser Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Why not? Being very good at creating wealth has nothing to do with being very good at preserving it or investing it right.
     
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  7. WJK
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    WJK Bronze Contributor Speedway Pass

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    It's the same way in real estate -- brokers who rent rather than own a home -- property managers who own no income property -- self declared experts who haven't done anything yet... but, they're going to... any day now...
    Sometimes I have people who show up and try to give me real estate advice, even though they only dabble or they have just started in our industry. I can smell them coming from a mile away. Some of them have gone to the right school or taken the right classes. Good for them. It's still all very laughable. I just ask them one well placed question. I look at them intently, waiting for their answers before I ask my next question. It's doesn't take long or very many questions. They fold their hand, and go away real fast. Go figure. There's just no substitute for real world experience, coupled with the professional education!
     
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  8. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Because I can tell if I know more than the advisor in a few minutes. The problem is that someone without years of experience doesn't have alot in their arsenal. All they offer are mutual funds, bonds, annuities and life insurance. They talk about risk, balancing the portfolio with large caps, small caps, biotech, with dividend paying stocks and international. They don't know your real estate portfolio, tax situation, etc... They don't know to ask. This is because they don't manage their own finances the same way. They can't, they don't have the net worth to understand what it's like to have 5 rentals, $1m cash spread across 4 businesses, etc...

    I have 7 IRAs... They consist of Roths, SEPs and Traditionals. If I wanted to trade options and go super aggressive, which IRA should I use assuming that they all have the same amount in them?

    Should they mention crypto to me? I don't know if they even legally can?

    It's the same with a CPA, I expect a CPA to give me ideas on how to lower my taxes, no just do my taxes. I don't expect a CPA to understand what @GlobalWealth does, but he should at LEAST let me know there is a guy like that out there. He should say, wow you are bringing in alot of money from overseas, have you thought about creating an offshore company? I don't know exactly how that works, but I got a guy that does.

    Or how about, did you know that Florida has a homestead law? Since you sell online, it could be a viable option for asset protection.

    Or maybe, hey your LLC is a single member pass through, did you know that you might get more protection if you had 2 members?

    Sometimes they will say, wow you're just doing fine. Keep doing what you're doing. Well thanks buddy. If you are all out of ideas then you can't help me.
     
  9. windchaser
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    windchaser Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    In that I totally agree, lack of experience is another issue, I was just refuting the net worth part. What I meant was that you can have a lot of experience managing millions and giving advice on such topics without being a millionaire yourself or having experienced such issues first hand (but have through professional experience).

    I think Schwab in any case could be good for an online account that you manage but is not the best place for the services you are mentioning, it is more targeted to average citizens than to high net worth individuals.

    And about the products I also completely agree and precisely that was my point in my earlier post about incentives and understanding and see if you can trust the advisor, as many advisors are just product pushers.

    Another interesting thing you infer and which I agree is that there are many advisors that practice the do as I say not as I do. But in the case of financial advice it is tricky, for example, in my case, I have a high risk tolerance for investments and there were many trades I was doing myself that I would have never recommended any of my conservative profile former clients :)




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  10. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    About those fees, I don't think financial advisors like S&P500 index funds. LOL
    They seem to think that they can beat it.

    So I pose this question below to you as a financial advisor. I'd like to hear your answer after thinking about it for a few minutes. Then I'll tell you my thought process on my answer.

    I have 3 IRAs... A Roth, a SEP and a Rollover. If I wanted to trade options and go super aggressive, which IRA should I use assuming that they all have the $100k in them?
     
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  11. windchaser
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    windchaser Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Financial advisors like ETFs as much as taxi drivers like Uber, LOL.

    About your question, sorry to disappoint but I do not know about IRAs and/or US tax efficient investments (about tax efficient investments a little more but that only from personal experience). Aside from the basics I studied for the Series 7 when I took it, I have never seen IRAs in my professional experience, as I have only covered offshore latinamerican clients who didn't have tax obligations in the US. So unfortunately I cannot give you sound advice on it.

    In any case I am curious to hear about your thought process on it.

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  12. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    My thought was that I should use my Roth IRA for options. This was because it was funded with after tax money already and with options being so leveraged, if I grew it to $1m, it would be 100% tax free. Whereas if I did it with a SEP or Rollover, I'd have to pay $1m on the gains.

    So I would put my less aggressive investments in my SEP or Rollover, and more aggressive in my Roth.

    The basic thinking is, which IRA is the most likely to have the most amount of money at retirement and I'm hoping it will be the Roth.
     
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  13. luniac
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    luniac Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    damn all this sound so complicated.
    i was just planning to put my future monies into vanguard like in unscripted lol and live off dividents.
     
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  14. biophase
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    biophase Legendary Contributor I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    That’s a fine strategy
     
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    minivanman Silver Contributor Speedway Pass

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    I've always kept mine in my pillow case. Problem is I always forget to take it out so when I wash my pillow case, the money keeps getting washed too. Every time I hear a siren I freak out that they are coming to get me for money laundering. Between that and the damn tag I wasn't suppose to tear off keeps me on edge.....
     
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2018
  16. windchaser
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    windchaser Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    That totally makes sense, certainly it is logical to use the Roth for more aggressive investments, my first guess was that as well. What I do not know is if there are any constrains to the type of investments you can make in a Roth without losing the benefit or if there is total freedom. If it is the latter, certainly the Roth sounds like the best alternative for those trades.

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  17. windchaser
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    windchaser Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    I use that strategy too for my core portfolio :) in fact I wouldn't recommend trading options unless you know what you are doing and have very high tolerance to risk. Options are a great tactical trade to obtain enhanced results with money you are willing to put at risk (as MJ describes very well, the FU pot), but not for your core portfolio.

    Sent from my SM-G920T using Tapatalk
     
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  18. Greg P.
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    Greg P. Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    This exactly! But see, I don't know if I'd believe that this is necessarily always an age issue - you hear the talk about 'risk, balancing, diversifying, etc etc' from advisors of all ages and stages in their career.

    Sometimes I get the sense that this is literally the language they are conditioned to offer at the parent agency they work for. The reputation of the organization is at risk so they don't want 'bad' or 'opinion' advice to stick to to the parent organization's reputation. It's the 'easy' script to give clients.

    @biophase, What if this 20-something kid was raised by someone like you. If they knew how the money system works and were able to sit and watch nothing but the market 18/7, would this shift the cards a bit? I totally get your point that you're probably smarter, have plenty more scars and a lot more experience than a 26 year old financial advisor, but I really feel like it's more about their style than it is about the point they're at in their career.

    If you're talking from a tax standpoint, I can definitely see the problem.

    Maybe I'm a bit too risky, (tell me if it's crazy to expect, @windchaser) but I want an advisor that's going to tell me what they think. I want them to look at things like crypto and crack a bad joke or I want their eyes to widen at the opportunity. Because I expect them to have a solid 'future possibilities' attitude and an educated stance towards certain markets and of course, not from a trigger-happy 'trust the mutual fund folk' and 'shoot from the hip' standpoint but I'd like a Fastlane thinker who's looking for the opportunities in the market. What 'could happen' to specific industries... etc.
     
  19. Greg P.
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    Yeah - Bob passed both of those tests. He was fee-based. Maybe that was a mistake but my research had shown that fee-based advisors were the better pick for a guy in my position. In our first session Bob went through this company-provided template on goal-setting and planning for the future. We started talking about passive income and various income strategies. (This is where the second flag showed up) What this meant to him was basically looking at my 2 Roth accounts and 1 Traditional - and suggesting that I roll the traditional into a Roth and turn up the dial from 'balanced' to an 'aggressive' portfolio. I was cranking that sh*t up! like Michael Fox and that giant stereo set in Back to the Future. But it was admittedly an underwhelming meeting, he didn't really discuss how to tackle other forms of income aside from investing which was a disappointment in itself.

    Suggestion no. 3 - duly noted!
     
  20. Greg P.
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    Greg P. Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Do share. ;)
     
  21. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Admin Post
    Many firms don't allow IRA option trading, I'm sure Schwab is one of them. Some offer just covereds. And option trading in IRAs has been a big target for regulation and restriction so you might have to search for a firm that offers it.
     
  22. Dunkafelics
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    I think the easiest question to ask yourself is, "Who has gotten rich off of investing 10% of their earnings in mutual funds?" (This may have come from Unscripted). I was qualified to sell mutual funds back in 2012 and then quit less than four months later. The reason that I quit, was that I became more knowledgeable on the products and discovered that I would be basically sending down people down a very dark tunnel if they invested in mutual funds for the long-term. That is something that I could never live with.
     
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  23. windchaser
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    windchaser Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    I think this is quite spot on. In the bank I used to work for they had a script about almost everything and management wanted it to be homogeneous as a part of the client experience, and most banks do the same. To tell you the truth that was one of the reasons why I decided to leave the industry.

    Absolutely, and I value that as well, the best advisors I have met where the ones that are able to think for themselves and even dare to contradict the script (of course providing the disclaimer that it is their personal opinion). With that being said, I think you did very well not hiring Bob and to keep searching until you find one that matches your style :)
     
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  24. Greg P.
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    Greg P. Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Can you elaborate more on this? The more we know, the more it helps!
     
  25. Greg P.
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    Greg P. Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Honestly, I think the big question for me right now is do I really need one? If I seem to know their entire mantra and at the age of 28 getting onto the ramp towards the the Fastlane, am only going to attract the franchise advisors is it even worth it at this point?

    What what point does it become valuable to have an advisor? I'm thinking it's probably better to wait until my service has taken off and we've shifted things into gear - then I'd have LLC to worry about, along with a whole new set of tax rules... But then by that point wouldn't I go right for the accountant?