Financial Advice Done Right
Anyone that visits https://storybookfinancial.com will quickly see that we do things a little differently than they have come to expect from “financial advisors.” The financial industry continues to go through changes that are making the advice you receive better.
If we rewind back to the old days of financial services, most in this industry were nothing more than glorified salespeople. They recommend a product that was “suitable” for you and received a big commission on that sale. When you think about how every product provides a different level of kickback, its not difficult to see how these salespeople would become biased in their recommendations.
While most are slowly migrating away from this model for compensation, there are still those stubborn few holding on to the suitable standards and making questionable recommendations while reaping large profits. Its because of this that we recommend you look for a “fee-only” advisor and someone held to the “fiduciary” standard. Fiduciary means the advice that is giving is in your best interest, not the advisor’s.
Three Hats We Wear
To explain the Storybook Financial method, its easiest to explain it as we wear three hats. First we put on our Life Planning hats, next we wear our Financial Planning hats, and finally we utilize our Financial Advisor hats. To make sense of what each of these are we will break them down in reverse order.
Typically, when someone holds themselves out as a Financial Advisor, they are talking about implementing products or services. Products and services could be something like investing in a mutual fund, purchasing life insurance, or creating an estate plan. Financial Advisor is a sort of blanket term that covers many different areas of financial services. If someone holds themselves out as a financial advisor, make sure you know how they are compensated and if their recommendations are held to a fiduciary standard. At Storybook Financial, this is the last hat we like to wear because without the other hats we may not know enough details about you to determine what the best product or service is for you.
Financial planning gives you and your advisor a comprehensive look at your entire financial life. Financial planners map out:
- Everything you own.
- Everything you owe.
- All your future income.
- All your future savings.
- All your future expenses.
From here they are able to determine things such as the likelihood of you being able to retire on time, if you will be able to fund college for your children, and how much insurance you need in the event of early death or loss of income. Financial planning in a lot of ways helps you take away many of the risks involved with your financial life. It also allows your advisor to understand your situation so that when they make a recommendation it really is in your best interest.
When looking for a financial planner, we highly recommend looking for proper credentials. The gold standard for financial planning is the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®). You could also consider a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC) or a CPA also holding the Personal Finance Specialist (PFS) designation.
The life planner hat is the least common in our industry, but perhaps the most important. The average financial plan can often be stale and rigid. The planner may invite you to create goals, but almost always the goals end up being college savings, retirement, or a large purchase such as a new home. There is no pizazz or excitement! Life planning puts “you” into your financial planning and many Registered Life Planners® have started calling it “Financial planning done right!”
Life planning digs deep into who you are and what you would like to achieve with your time on earth. Some major issues to life are that none of us live forever and our major life resources time, money, and energy are all finite. At Storybook Financial we take our young healthcare families through the EVOKE® Life Planning process to learn what their idyllic life is and obstacles in the way of them living that life. This helps generate a financial plan that aims them toward the things they really care about and not just some arbitrary idea that they would like to retire someday. You can read more about our EVOKE process here https://storybookfinancial.com/how-we-help/our-process.
If you were following along, many in the financial services industry are focused on being financial advisors. Some are beginning to understand, we can only be good advisors if we first have a plan. At Storybook, we take it a step further and aim to build high quality plans by first understanding what it is you hope to achieve with life. Each builds on the foundation from the one before!
If you would like to know more about our process or what to look for in a financial advisors, please contact us today!