Our Thoughts

With Super Bowl XLIX (49) a week away, Americans are currently forming into three clusters: those ready to just watch some football, those who will be watching simply for the commercials, and a large group of people watching both. Whether it’s Dodge’s tribute to farmers, a child Darth Vader by Volkswagen, or the trifecta of frogs saying ‘Bud-Weis-Errrr…,’ commercials have become a significant slice of playoff culture.

Financial related commercials are a dime a dozen, but one that has recently stuck with many folks is Charles Schwab’s 30-second “Why” ad, where a man and his son walk out of a meeting with the family broker. The son asks the dad how much they pay him, and the dad does not know.

The point: Are you asking the right questions about where your money is going?

“Why is this message important,” you might ask – in today’s world of wealth management, transparency has become a grave factor in choosing the right person to oversee your family’s finances. Oftentimes, investors truly do not know how much they are paying their advisors, and even if their assets seem to be performing well, this cloudiness could lead to some questions.

Does my advisor have my best interest at heart? When the fee structure is not clear, you may not realize what a specific product might pay an advisor, and there is no rule that he/she must disclose that information to you. However, with a “Fee-Only” structure, like that of TBH Franklin, your expense is very clearly articulated on your statements. Plus, this structure aligns the interests of both parties. An advisor is incented to grow your account – as you make more, he/she makes more, and vice versa if the account goes down.

Am I getting truly independent advice? As mentioned above, when the advisor has a vested interest in your assets, he/she will use whichever investment vehicle will best fit your individual situation. All-too-often, an investment choice is made because it is ‘suitable’ or that product is on the ‘Preferred Vendors List’ of a firm. There may be a better option for you, but the suitable one pays them more or the better product is not on the list.

Does my advisor have the time to answer these questions? The beauty of working with a boutique planning firm like TBH lies in the fact that you are working with people you know and trust; a group that will keep its client base on the smaller side so that you get the best client service around; a team that will take the time to sit down with you and your family to discuss where your money is going.

So listen to Chuck: “Are you asking enough questions about the way that your wealth is managed?”

Travis Anderson
About the Author
Travis is like a bear hug on your brain. Markets and estate issues define the pallet, while hints of sarcasm and notes of abstruse words finish off this nicely plucked author who prefers barley.