How a One-Off Financial Planning Session Can Change Everything
by Kristin Hoppe
When David Reynaldo had considered getting a financial advisor in the past, he always felt a certain level of skepticism.
“The main impression I had from financial advisors… was that they were more concerned with just getting you signed up so they can get their brokers’ commission,” said David. “The more I talked to people, the more I realized that [some of them] sign you up and let it sit, and they may only check in once every six months.”
“If I hadn’t secured my investments the way that he advised me to, I probably would have lost out on tens of thousands of dollars.”
But all of that changed when the LA-based educational consultant for College Zoom decided to take an hour-long financial strategy session with an advisor from My Financial Counsel’s network. Unlike the majority of financial advisors, MFC exclusively matches with fiduciary advisors who are legally required to put their clients’ best interests first.
“[It was] my first time talking to a financial planner who was a better fit for me,” he said. “I was surprised because I had already been self-managing my Vanguard account and had been gaining and doing pretty well. So I thought I had it all covered. But one thing that I hadn’t considered was that all the gains I was making in my EFTs (exchange-traded funds) and mutual funds and stocks. If the market were to tank, I would lose all of that. And I wasn’t planning on the market changing.”
David’s financial advisor pointed out the risks he was taking and walked him through how to better secure a portion of his investments. And those small changes made a world of difference – to the tune of a small fortune.
“If I hadn’t secured my investments the way that he advised me to, I probably would have lost out on tens of thousands of dollars,” said David. “That was incredibly valuable… So it was almost like he was two steps ahead of the game. And he did that for every single thing I was invested in.”
Use the same checklist David used to make sure your financial advisor has your best interests at heart.
Even though David had felt doubtful at first, knowing that his advisor wasn’t living off commission or trying to sell him products helped put him at ease. It also laid the groundwork for a more personal relationship and better understanding of his financial needs and aspirations.
“[My financial advisor] took some time to understand what my background was. I was skeptical and looking out for someone who’s going to come in and say, ‘You know what, buy these funds. Do this. It’s going to be good,’ without any kind of rhyme or reason. But when he was able to measure my income, what my investment strategy has been so far, what my next life goals are, he was really able to see what level of risk that I was comfortable with, and then dial up a strategy that fit that.”
Knowing that his advisor was fee-only and wouldn’t make product commissions allowed David to trust his advice. It also helped David break down some of his own motivations to understand what the future could look like.
“He was able to tell me exactly the psychology that I was following, almost like a fortune teller, of why I picked those stocks [I had invested in],” he said.
At the end of the day, David decided that even with all his breadth and depth of DIY knowledge, he didn’t realize what a huge impact a fee-only financial advisor could make during a one-off session.
“This is one of those preventative things – almost like a doctor’s checkup to prescreen for early cancer,” he said. “It’s a must do.”
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