There is really one over-riding point to the article, Don’t Go it Alone, Four Reasons to Have a Financial Advisor. It’s that advisors, good advisors, bring value that isn’t directly posted on an account statement. The financial services industry has spent decades conditioning people to focus on rates of return, market, and investment performance. As a result, many people discount the true “value” advisors can bring. Adding to the challenge is that we are operating in a world where people want to see results right-a-way, and often time good advice could take years to “reveal” its benefits.
I think one of the most insightful pieces I have ever seen on the benefits of working with a financial advisor came from the most unexpected of institutions, Vanguard. Jack Bogle’s Vanguard was built and became an industry giant on the, low cost, no-load, passive management philosophy. It was an investment company that seemed to be built on the do-it-yourselfer. No Advisor needed. Yet is was Vanguard that invested the money, did the research, and even published (and continues to update) the white paper titled, The Advisors Alpha. The piece lists the ways advisors help investors and even goes as far as quantifying the value in terms of an added rate of return. Trouble is, that isn’t going to show up on someone’s statement. As a result, that value is often times never truly recognized or acknowledged.
In a world where everyone seems to want everything in a simple sound bite or 30 second video, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that investors still think about “beating the market” or “low fees.” These are simple concepts that are intellectually easy to digest, and when put forth in an economic vacuum, seem quite logical. Unfortunately, someone’s personal financial life cycle and how they use and relate to different investment vehicles over a 10, 20, or 30-year period of time can be much more challenging to intellectually digest.