Recently, I had a client ask me, “hey, Garrett, are you a fiduciary?” Yes, I am, I told her. And thanks for asking, I replied. I worked hard to earn that right to answer in the affirmative. The fact is that every client should ask their potential advisor the very same question. Yes, it is an odd word, but arguably the most important word in financial planning and wealth management. Unfortunately, few people are familiar with what it truly means. It originates from the Latin word, fidere (“to trust”). But it is so much more than just a word. As fiduciary financial advisors (vs. commission-based agents), we are legally obligated to act in your best interest when helping you make decisions about your money. This is a huge differentiator.
One would think that all financial advisors would be obligated to do this, act in the best interests of their clients. However, less than 15% of financial advisors are fiduciaries, yet the majority of consumers think that EVERY financial advisor is a fiduciary. To be clear, only financial advisors who are fiduciaries are required to act in the best interests of their clients. Scary, right? For this reason, I want to share three reasons why you need to have a fiduciary financial advisor in your corner—no matter your stage in life.
- Objectivity: When making choices about your retirement savings, assets, investments, or anything else, a fiduciary will look objectively at your financial picture.
- Disclosure of Conflicts of Interest: A conflict of interest is when someone is in a position to make a decision based on an ulterior motive. Fiduciaries are required to disclose and avoid conflicts of interest.
- Scope of Financial Concerns: As fiduciaries, we are here for you when it comes to any and all questions you may have about your money. Whether it’s a one-and-done meeting or a nurturing a long-term relationship, you can come to us.
I hope these three considerations have armed you with the knowledge to vet potential financial advisors. If you are looking for a fiduciary, or if your current advisor only provides a suitability standard of care, we would love to connect with you. Please reach out to us for an introductory conversation. And, as always, our initial advisory session is without cost or obligation to you. We’re on your side. Our goal is simple, to focus on what best meets your objectives.
Together, let’s make 2023 a year to remember.
Ideas without action are worthless. —Harvey Mackay
Hau ‘oli Makahiki Hou! Happy New Year!
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