Man, I am telling you, being a financial planner is not the easiest job on earth this year. However, for some advisor, this is the perfect timing to prove that they are working for their clients. I few months ago, I wrote a series on how to find a good financial adviser. If you already have one, this is the perfect timing for him to show if he’s a good advisor or if he is as good as a burger flipper (there are a lot of them that should be flipping burgers instead of giving financial advices!).
The first thing to look at is that if he called you in the past 6 months. If he didn’t, especially during the last two months, you are in your right to call him and ask him what he does with his time. In a market turmoil, the first task for any advisor in my opinion is to call his clients to make sure they are aware of what is going on in the stock market and that they understand the investment strategy that was put in place.
He called but he didn’t have much to say
Well you know what; there is not much to say anyway! His job is to listen to you and make sure that you sleep well at night. If you need specific information on the market or on the financial crisis, he should be able to give you a good picture of the financial world. He should not be a specialist (he is not a stock trader after all) but he must know what is going on in the stock market and why it is happening.
Why don’t you do something?
Many clients ask this question since they are desperately seeking for a solution. You can feel their irritation as they got their skin pealed off with a scraper since January. There is no more skin to take off; we are scratching their nerves for a while now. So they ask: “Why don’t you do something? What about those incredible managers you promoted a few months ago? Why Am I paying management fees if I’m not making any money?”
Answers to these questions are quite simple: if your adviser change his mind and listen to you, he is not helping you! The worst thing to do is to switch your investments to bonds and other fixed income. It will take you forever to get back your money. If he switches your investment upon your request, I assure you that you will end up saying: “I never made a buck with the stock market. Investing is for rich people”.
An advisor’s role during market fluctuation is to reassure their clients, educate them with financial information and to fight back anytime they are trying to get away from the strategy they put in place to achieve your goal.
If your financial adviser is fighting back, it is because he is working for you, not because he is afraid to lose his commission. However, it takes nerve and confidence to stand up in front of someone who is losing thousands and thousands months after months. If he has this gut, he is certainly on a good way to be a great financial adviser.
If you are not satisfied with his explanation over the phone, ask him to get an appointment where you will review your whole investment strategy. Your financial adviser will take the time to go through the past, present and future investment decision that you have to make.
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