Financial Advisors - The Primer Part 1

Financial Advisors - Introduction

Listen to the book authors, newspaper and magazine columnists and many websites, and you will hear that financial advisors or financial planners are nothing more than glorified snake oil salesmen out to separate you from your hard earned money. 

To listen to some in the finance industry and their champions, financial advisors and financial planners are bastions of righteousness steeped in knowledge about financial concepts so complex that no mere mortal could possibly hope to navigate the waters alone.

The truth of course lies in between.  In real life, many financial decisions are frighteningly complex and many of them are irreversible.  More importantly, some of the biggest financial issues, like retirement, take years to accomplish, and you only get one chance.  If you try the latest fad diet for a couple of months only to find out it doesn't work for you, you start over a little wiser and with a little more experience. 

Retirement is a little bit different.  You will only retire once.  If you don't get it right, you can't start over.  Most of your friends and family have never retired either.  People who are already retired may have used techniques that are no longer available to you (generous company pension.) 

This is where a good, knowledgeable financial advisor or financial planner comes in.  Over the course of a long career, a financial planner will have helped hundreds of people retire.  They'll see what causes people to stumble and where the errors are made along the way, and they'll guide you through.

Of course the key is good, knowledgeable financial advisor.  Unfortunately, there are way too many financial advisors and financial planners out there who are missing one or both of those key words.  This primer is meant to give you some background into just exactly what a financial planner or financial advisor is. 

On to part 2