Who Needs a Financial Planner?

Who Needs a Financial Planner?

It’s been a few posts now since the launch and I haven’t really talked about what I do. I need to. My audience is growing, but most who have visited this site know me already. For those of you who don’t know where I spend most of my time during the week, let me elaborate. For those who know me, read on as you’ll probably learn something too.

I’m a Certified Financial Planner™. I work at a firm that specializes in the areas of financial planning and investment management.

I can see the look on a lot of your faces – gasping at the fact that I’m one of ‘those guys’. Scenes of Black Monday just popped into your head. Oh, and that other guy you’re thinking about too. I beg you to hold judgement until the end of this post – it won’t take too long, but I want you to know my motivation for getting into this business and why I believe so much in what we, as a growing profession, are doing every day.

Let’s be clear. Every industry has its bad days and (very) bad people. For the Financial Advice business, sadly those days have been aplenty. When someone breaks your trust it’s bad. When someone breaks your trust, and destroys your future, it’s beyond words. It’s tough to come back from either, and most don’t.

In case you haven’t noticed – which if all you knew of this industry was what you saw and heard on the news, then you probably haven’t – this industry is changing, and changing very quickly. The ‘old guard’ is retiring and moving on, the ‘old way’ is becoming less profitable and no longer sustainable, and the ‘new wealth’ is requiring a brand-new approach. This new approach includes leading with financial planning and viewing investment management as a component of that process.

It’s been interesting going to family gatherings or speaking with friends about what I’m doing. When I’m asked, the questions are very surface level about how the new job is going. I think it’s because most are fearful that if the door is left open long enough, I may ask them a question or two about their financial situation. I won’t ask or bring it up unless someone brings it up to me first. This uneasiness has been eye opening to watch play out. And it’s there. All over. And it’s there because of what the industry did to themselves. To be blindly tossed into the ‘destroyers of financial futures’ camp can be a very depressing thing.

There is no doubt. We good, honorable and authentic financial planners have an enormous credibility hill to climb, not only due to the spineless suits who wrecked the financial lives of the innocent before us, but also because of the institutions that put forth misaligned incentives for their ‘advisors’ (read: salespeople) to ‘fit’ into their client’s portfolios. I actually thought more progress had been done on this front.

I get it. I know where this industry was. But I also feel compelled to make it known that a large part of the reason I get up each morning and come into the office is that real change is happening and quite frankly, it’s really fun to be part of it.

What I’ve realized since joining this industry is that there are firms, and real advisors, who have put stakes in the ground to move this profession of financial advice in the right direction. In the direction that supports the lives of our clients beyond what our clients can imagine. And we will continue to work very hard to ensure that is the only direction we head.

I titled this post “Who Needs a Financial Planner?”, so let me answer that question. You. Everyone reading this would benefit from having a relationship with an independent, fee-only, financial planner.

The profession is changing, maybe it’s about time you take a look.

Ryan