Michael on September 27th, 2007
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When we started Total Candor in 2005, we were optimistic the financial community would look favorably upon our mission to “empower personal financial decision-making through unbiased education.” Ultimately, we were hopeful that financial services firms would see us as a potential partner and not a threat. After all, we’re not trying to obtain end customers as traditional clients and thus we have always been completely non-competitive. But, as they say, you never know until you’re “out there.”

Fortunately, we’ve had an exceptional level of support which continues to grow. In just the last few weeks, we’ve visited and spread the word at every ING DIRECT café in the country. In addition, this article recently ran in the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts ’s The Planner magazine.

Yes, in fact much of the financial community gets the true importance of an unbiased money education. And this spirit of partnership will continue to help everyone—the financial services community, Total Candor, and, most importantly, you.

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5 Comments to “The financial community and Total Candor”

  1. AJ Shattuck says:

    So, this raises an interesting question. Although I’ve not yet read the book yet, I have read about Gary here on your blog. Would you consider Gary to be part of the financial community? Is Gary changing a bit with the times…i.e..finally seeing that the partnership can be beneficial for both parties….

  2. Michael says:

    Great question AJ. In a way, financial advisors are no different than doctors, lawyers, teachers, or bartenders. Most are adequate, some are spectacular and a few others . . . well, not so much. So, yes, Gary is most definitely part of the financial community. Heck, he’d be the first to tell you he’s a leading advisor. It’s just that Gary happens to represent the third group, those who continue to look out for their own welfare first and foremost.

  3. AJ says:

    Thanks Michael. So, my follow up then is around understanding those three groups. Does your book lay that out for us? I would argue at face value, it’s hard to know what you are dealing with when it comes to an adviser…that is until you have some history with him or her. I’ve read your suggestions around how to understand whether Gary is sitting in front of you. One would hope that most of us could see Gary…but possibly not. So, I wonder ‘am I working with spectacular…or just adequate’. I follow my quarterly and yearly returns making sure they are in my range given my risk level but then wonder..could I be better off? Are the management expenses of the funds my adviser has me in too high…or too low. And then I think about your discussion again from WHEB where you are talking to young students to get out there as fast as possible. Aren’t they at an even higher risk? How do we mitigate this? If the answer is go to a seminar and read the book, don’t worry, I’m planning to..but I guess these are general discussion questions because I wonder at times and think I’m in pretty good control of my finances…

  4. Michael says:

    Great questions. Yes, there certain are keys to identifying whether you’re sitting with a trusted advisor or if you’ve got Gary. And sure, I believe by reading my book or attending a seminar you’ll understand them. But why wait?

    How did you find this person? Yellow pages ad? Free seminar? Or a referral from a good friend?

    Do you know how your advisor is paid? If not, you should ask. If you got to end of the meeting and still had to ask, that’s an indicator.

    How’s the advice you’re getting? Is it product specific or client specific? In other words, is the advisor all about a certain product or did he/she take the time to really understand you, your goals, your family, and so on?

    Are you getting investment return promises and guarantees? Nothing is guaranteed.

    Are the recommendations notoriously high-commission high-fee products or is he/she steering you into low-cost index funds?

    None of these items alone is a definite indicator, but taken collectively, you can get a good feeling (or not so good) about who you’re working with.

    Plus, remember that investing isn’t the totality of financial planning and none of this is rocket science. Focus most on the how much you save aspect (which only you control) for the maximum chance of achieving financial success in life.

  5. AJ says:

    Thanks! Your points to ponder and ideas above are appreciated. Several great places to start.

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