With a combined 35 years of experience providing personal financial advice, we know what people mean when they say they are confused. We have heard far too many stories about the experiences they have had trying to get it right.
Life is hard. Going it alone takes time and it is not easy. On the other hand finding someone you can depend on, to do what’s right, can be even harder. If you think about it you don’t have many chances to hire the right person to get it right, to help you maximize the use of your money, while avoiding financial mistakes.
We have concluded that people are confused because the industry we work in, called Financial Services, is convoluted. Banking has been around since the introduction of currency, and life insurance was first sold in ancient Rome. Stocks were first issued by European companies involved in trade in the East Indies to spread the risk (and share the reward) to fund their operations.
And what about now? Insurance agents still sell insurance, Stock Brokers still sell stocks and bonds, and Bankers still offer checking accounts and loans, but almost all of them now offer most of their competitors’ products too. And maybe most confusing is the tendency the industry has to interchange the titles they use on business cards.
So whom can you trust? It’s difficult to assess an individuals intentions when the industry, and the products they represent, are confusing. Do they have your best interests at heart or their company’s? Those two are not always synonymous.
This is not a condemnation of the people that make a living providing honest advice and quality products, but it does cause us to pause and ask – could it be any more complicated?
We suggest you keep it simple. There is an easy way to find help that is experienced and ethical. Simply look for this 3-letter designation, CFP®, to identify individuals who have earned the right to call themselves CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM Professionals. They have signed an oath to deliver the highest standard of ethics and financial planning services to make sure you are on the right track. Look for the CFP® designation when hiring someone to help you have meaningful conversations about your money. To learn more about CFP Board and to find a CFP® Professional, check out the website, www.LetsMakeAPlan.org.