What value does a financial advisor actually provide? This may surprise you, but the value of a quality financial advisor goes far beyond portfolio advice. It’s about guiding clients to develop sophisticated financial behaviors. With robo-advisors and consistent market volatility in the headlines, it’s important to realize the comprehensive advantages of working with an advisor familiar with your unique circumstances – not a computer algorithm.
A recent study by Fidelity Investments discovered that working with a financial advisor can add up to 4% higher investment returns. In a similar study, Vanguard estimated that the quantitative value of a financial advisor is about 3% on a net basis (4% minus a 1% fee). Additionally, an advisor can give you peace of mind by boosting your financial confidence in the following areas:
- Developing a workable financial plan
- Serving as a behavioral coach (a more valued team member)
- Creating a consistent investment strategy
- Navigating retirement savings plans (and business succession planning)
- Developing a tax-sensitive investment strategy (factoring in business ownership)
1. Developing a workable financial plan
Regardless of life stage, we work with families and individuals to develop plans that allow them to achieve several financial goals at once, such as paying off student loans, saving for a desired vacation, and building a reserve for emergency expenses. After examining a client’s income, expenses, and spending habits, we can set priorities, identify areas where expenses can be reduced, and develop a savings plan to achieve both short and long-term goals.
2. Serving as a Behavioral Coach (a More Valued Team Member)
In a world where personal and business financial issues have become increasingly complex, we help clients figure out what’s true or false, what works, what matters, what is useful, and what can go wrong. Not many people have sufficient expertise to do that themselves—especially with an objective mindset. We provide support to clients so they stay on course in times of financial stress to help eliminate poor financial decisions. It’s easy for investors to fall victim to common cognitive biases that affect their decisions. Guiding clients to more responsible financial behaviors can help in a myriad of ways, such as realizing the benefits of long-term investments and enjoying the security and peace of mind that comes from having sufficient retirement funds.
3. Creating a consistent investment strategy
Numerous studies show that when investors manage their accounts themselves, they tend to overreact to market changes by trading too frequently. According to the 2016 Dalbar Quantitative Analysis of Investor Behavior Study, disciplined investors can see nearly double the returns on their investments over 20 years compared to those who try timing the market. With many clients, we guide them through selecting an appropriate mix of investments, rebalancing their investments as needed, and executing a consistent investment strategy that will keep them from making rash decisions.
4. Navigating retirement savings plans and business succession plans
A lack of retirement savings is a significant problem for many Americans due to longer lifespans, expensive medical care, and the rising cost of living. Without the guidance of a financial advisor, many Americans ignore the need for a solid retirement savings plan. Working with a financial advisor can help you determine the ideal time for retirement, the amount of savings needed to meet your retirement goals, and your ideal retirement age to guarantee income for life. If you have a business, partners, what will it be worth to you and your family when you decide to wind down your participation?
5. Developing a tax-sensitive investment strategy
Tax efficiency is a critical part of financial planning. We often give advice on issues such as tax-loss harvesting in brokerage and other taxable accounts, managing exposure on short-term capital gains, charitable giving, and more. While tax issues are not the main focus of our clients’ investment strategies, advice on how to manage, defer, and reduce tax exposure has the potential to improve returns by as much as 1% to 2% per year, more if business ownership and succession planning is factored in.
While financial advice is often perceived as simply implementing an investment portfolio or dispensing financial guidance, that truly is just one slice of the pie. Our conviction is to take the discussion of your priorities far deeper. We want to know:
As a fortunate, high earning business owner, are you constrained by your $50-60K retirement contribution limit? Are you aware you could be contributing 4-5 times that amount?
What was the marginal tax rate on the last $50K you earned?
Have you taken a 30+ year longevity in retirement risk off the table? Completely?
What is the transfer/exit strategy for your remaining wealth and assets after you are gone?
How would you like to see your legacy live on?
If you’re not having this level of discussion with your current advisory team, please contact us for a complimentary consultation.
Fidelity Investments. (2017, Dec. 14). The value of advice [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.fidelity.com/viewpoints/investing-ideas/financial-advisor-cost
Pfau, W. (2015, Jul 21) The Value of Financial Advice [Blog post] Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/wadepfau/2015/07/21/the-value-of-financial-advice/#71caf4ca1333
Douglass, M. (2017, Apr. 2). Yet another study shows that timing the market doesn't work [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://www.fool.com/investing/2017/04/02/yet-another-study-shows-that-timing-the-market-doe.aspx
Benjamin, J. (2014, Jan 27) Financial advisers can add 3 percentage points to client portfolios: Vanguard [Blog post]. Retrieved from http://www.investmentnews.com/article/20140127/FREE/140129915/financial-advisers-can-add-3-percentage-points-to-client-portfolios