Considered by many sportswriters, commentators, fans, and players to be the greatest NFL quarterback of all time, Tom Brady has played in a record 10 super bowls and holds the record of 7 for most super bowl wins of any NFL quarterback. Will this year be his eighth?
Is your financial quarterback more like a Tom Brady or an imposter? And how can you tell? With so many professionals out there claiming to be financial advisors, how do you know if you’re truly working with one of the greats?
First and foremost, check your planner’s designations. One of the telltale signs of a superior financial quarterback is the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation. For decades, the CFP® designation has stood for superior financial planning expertise. There are about 80,000 CFP®’s currently - only about 20% of financial advisors have the certification. Because of the high fiduciary standards of the CFP board, the designation also serves to protect the consumer from financial planning imposters who are simply out there to line their own pockets. Checking your advisor’s credentials will be critical to your overall success.
Check with your advisor about his or her investment philosophy. This will allow you to understand why and when your advisor makes certain decisions regarding your financial plan and investment management during your engagement. Does you advisor base their decisions on Nobel Prize winning research? Or fantasy and hype? Work with a firm that stands behind the research and science behind Evidence-Based Investing and seek an advisor who provides evidence-based advice to keep clients’ best interests at the forefront of decision-making.
Additionally, the way your advisor is compensated will reveal quite a bit about the type of care you and your financial plan can expect to receive. The typical compensation models present far too much conflict of interest between the advisor and the client as it makes it impossible for the client to tell if the advice being provided is in their best interest or that of the advisor’s bottom line. Working with a fee-only, fiduciary solves this problem by eliminating potential personal motivators from the equation.
Working with an advisor who uses a complexity-based model proves to be even more advantageous. With this model, fees do not increase simply because your wealth increases. Your wealth remains yours to compound and accumulate over time.
How has your financial quarterback been performing?
Before we can evaluate your “financial quarterback’s” performance, we have to answer the question of why we need one. A financial quarterback is an advisor and go-to ally who coordinates all the members of your financial team to ensure your overall success.
Whether you realize it or not, you may already have a financial “team.” You may work with an estate planning attorney who drafts your will, a CPA who prepares your taxes, an insurance salesman, a stockbroker, or even a retirement specialist through your company. It’s your financial advisor’s job to act as the quarterback and coordinate your affairs amongst all the members of your team to make sure costly mistakes aren’t made.
I’ve seen some financially and personally devastating mishaps happen when the members of a client’s team are not aligned. The list of potential misfortunes is long and includes clients holding completely inappropriate levels of portfolio risk, carrying too much or too little insurance coverage, holding an inferior investment selection, and/or operating with a bad or missing estate plan. I’ve even seen couples take income in retirement from the wrong sources and create a tax liability so big that they were in serious jeopardy of having to return back to the workplace. When your financial team is not in coordination, the effects can be damaging.
Added Value for Working Professionals
For working professionals, in particular, though the financial quarterback performs another critical function, as well, and that is allowing the professional to focus on their short-term goals while still preparing for long-term financial milestones.
The corporate world operates on very regimented timelines. Like it or not, successes and failures are measured in short-term intervals, most often by quarter (or annually at best). This approach forces most people to prioritize short-term thinking over long-term strategizing, making it easy for them to lose sight of priorities outside their immediate deadlines.
This is where the financial quarterback steps in. Essentially, he helps the pro to “go long.” In other words, the professional’s financial quarterback helps him to see outside his short-term focus and visualize the bigger financial picture, which could include retirement planning, risk mitigation, estate planning, and tax strategizing. This allows the working professional to focus on earning and succeeding in the corporate world, knowing both his short-term and long-term financial affairs are being looked after by his advisor.
What would it look like if Tom Brady, one of the all-time greatest NFL quarterbacks, was your financial planner?
Tom Brady is not only well-known for his ability to keep his team together under heated conditions, but he prides himself in seeing them succeed. In interviews, he often talks about how having high-integrity teammates, trusting the training process, and being properly prepared are essential to their continued success.
Having a successful retirement or reaching other financial milestones, such as buying a second home, are special events that take preparation to reach. Just like playing in the NFL, these goals aren’t achieved by all. But, with the direction of a great quarterback leading the way, you increase your probability of success. Although it’s unlikely you’ll find the Tom Brady financial advisor—arguably the greatest of all time—you certainly want to make sure you are working with the most qualified and best-in-class advisor out there.
If you are a working professional in need of a financial quarterback to align your team and keep an eye on your big-picture financial plan, Meenes Wealth could be the right fit for you. Contact me today to learn more about how I partner with working professionals and executives to achieve more.