Monday, April 12, 2010

The One Quality Your Financial Professional MUST Possess

The One Quality Your Financial Professional MUST Possess

When selecting a financial professional to help you plan for your retirement future, you should view it as a lifelong relationship. People generally do – and should – consider various attributes when deciding the financial professional they will hire. After working in the finance industry for some years, I want to make you aware of the one MUST-HAVE quality you should seek in whomever you decide to hire as your financial counselor. Of course, I recognize that this is America, so you are free to make your decision based on whichever criteria are important to you.

Before we get to this MUST-HAVE quality, you first want to make sure you hire a person, not a firm. You may like a firm’s name, logo, advertisements, or feel confident in them because a trusted friend or family member has recommended them to you because he or she had an awesome experience. There is nothing wrong with that. Laser Financial Group cherishes referrals, too, and thanks all who have referred clients to us and those who will do so in the future. BUT, you are a completely different person, so you must make sure that YOU feel comfortable and like the firm as much as the person who referred you. More likely than not, what they were looking for is quite different from your needs and desires.

Just the other day, I ran into a man at the barber shop who highly recommended a particular professional (non-financial) office to me. The reason? He thinks the female receptionist is “hot.” While this may be an extreme instance, after interviewing people over the course of several years about their choice of financial professionals, you'd be amazed at some of their reasons for choosing them. I occasionally have to struggle to keep my composure listening to some of their peculiar logic.

As I alluded to earlier on, there are several factors to consider in hiring a financial advisor, but the NUMBER ONE thing the person you hire must posses at all costs is incredible ability to provide CLARITY. By that, I mean that when they speak, you are always able to follow and understand exactly what they mean. You understand where they are coming from and, in most cases, can figure out where they are headed. This is HUGELY important, folks.

On an almost daily basis, I talk to people who pursued strategies that literally amounted to setting a time bomb on themselves; yet all they can tell me by way of explanation is, “My advisor said it was a good idea,” or “My advisor told me that was what I needed.” These are adults who have invested in financial products/strategies that have been earmarked for their retirement futures, but they do not know exactly why the product/strategy is good for them!

If everything is not crystal clear to you, don’t hire that person, period! If you cannot understand every step along the way, you run the risk of letting your advisor talk you into what they think you need. I view this as dictatorship, which in my opinion is an extremely dangerous cancer that will surely ruin your financial future. Now let me make myself clear here: I am not suggesting that you must understand every technical intricacy of the specific products, because that’s not your area of expertise. But you MUST understand, in a general sense, why the heck you are making particular choices, especially as they relate to your future retirement.

Whenever I review feedback/comments from our seminars, my own client meetings or those from the other financial professionals I oversee, I pay particular attention to what the audience/clients say about their level of understanding. I give higher marks for “I understand clearly” than “You are very smart.” The kinds of comments that make my month are: “You make it very simple to understand” and “I never really understood it this way before.”

My usual response? It does not have to be complex to be right, right?

Please call us today at 301-949-4449 or visit our website to schedule your complimentary consultation. We guarantee we'll make things easy for you to understand.


  1. couldn't agree more. i guess for most people we just get "sucked-in" and for some reason think that it must be good for us if it sounds complex.

    excellent column!

  2. There are lots of certification requirements that must be fulfilled by financial professionals like an Investment Adviser. But it is still depends on the area of financial development you want to pursue. The initial steps in becoming a financial professional are to pass the Series 6 and Series 63 Training courses. These courses must be approved by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority or FINRA, which allows you to get basic financial licenses once you pass the licensing exams.


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