Monday, August 19, 2013

Experts Say Such-and-Such…But Who Exactly Are These Experts?

Experts Say Such-and-Such…But Who Exactly Are These Experts?

By all accounts, following expert advice when it comes to your retirement investments is a good thing, especially in this day and age. And boy do we have a barrage of expert opinions about how to ensure a financially comfortable retirement, don’t we? So why is it, as the years go by, that the percentage of Americans who are missing the mark – and we’re talking significantly missing the mark – is on the rise and getting worse?

Of course, there may be a number of reasons why only a few Americans succeed at retirement planning. But here’s what nobody seems to be addressing, yet may well be the root cause of the financial nightmares of millions of retirees and soon-to-be retirees: The “expert advice” they’re following may be completely wrong and out of touch with reality.

Let me explain. Every day we hear the experts tell us what we should be doing to hit home runs with our retirement nest eggs. Just turn on the news, pick up a financial magazine, or visit a financial website. The experts have spoken and continue to speak in no uncertain terms.

On the other hand, however, many of the folks I have personally met in my practice have more or less followed the experts’ advice to the T. Yet they are achieving the exact opposite results than the retirement lifestyles they envisioned. Rather than retiring comfortably, they are afraid of outliving their savings, don’t have enough money to do or purchase many of the things they want, and are being clobbered with taxes, when all those experts said their taxes would be much lower as they approached retirement.

The thing is, if someone told you to do something to achieve a specific result, and you followed their advice but ended up with a completely different outcome, it can mean only one thing: their recommendations were wrong. Does it really matter who the advice-giver is or what they advised? Whether they refer to themselves as an expert, a master, a consultant, or a specialist? Of course, not.  

Please don’t mistake me – I am not saying that you shouldn't follow expert advice. I’ll always personally prefer an expert to a non-expert. But I’d also like to know who exactly this expert is that I’m going to be listening to and, most importantly, to learn of the real-life (notice the keyword here is real-life) success stories associated with his/her recommendations, not just their theories. The interesting thing is that in many cases, we don’t have the slightest clue about who the expert is because all we hear are things like “according to experts,” “experts recommend,” “experts say,” or “retirement experts suggest.” Next time you hear advice from an expert, ask yourself this simple question: Who exactly is this expert that I am about to follow?
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