Thinking ahead about how investing can support financial goals is the purpose of planning. Naturally, there’s lots of talk about common planning targets: retirement and college. But there’s also consideration of how to achieve multiple goals at various stages of life — whether covering basic needs or leaving a legacy — and how taxes and tax planning could impact results. Articles in the planning category allow you to clarify how today’s decisions can impact efforts to grow, manage, and maintain wealth.

Problems with Financial Advisers: Judging Clients

One of the problems that I have experienced with financial advisers is their quickness to judge me and failure to understand my point of view. When evaluating an adviser, I look for someone who offers insights on complex financial problems. I don’t mind being pitched an off-the-shelf product but want to hear why it’s ideal for my unique circumstances. I shy away from those who seem to force an ill-fitting solution as appropriate for every situation (and demean me if I disagree).

Problems with Financial Advisers: Selling to Generate a Commission (Only)

To test the local advisers’ skills and integrity, I worked with my initial contact to execute the rollover of a 401(k) plan to an IRA; and then make investment recommendations that I either approved or rejected. Based on recent successes, the adviser seemed confident of recommended investments and their superiority to other choices.

I didn’t mention to the sales rep that I had a significant amount of money in an IRA in a separate account, possibly available for management for the right person. Again, my goal was to evaluate the adviser’s integrity and knowledge and then possibly expand our relationship.

Initially, I was pleased with the service. The rollover was completed and funds invested. But when another adviser replaced my initial contact, a new and improved recommendation was made. I was happy to test this new person’s investment savvy. But later I felt that the change in investments may have been contrived just to generate a sale. The investment did not seem superior and the adviser did not maintain the relationship.

Financial Advisers: Problems I Have Encountered (Series)

A few readings have compelled me to clarify my position on financial advisers plus tell cautionary stories. My experiences may help others understand what they may want to consider when engaging a professional to provide guidance on financial matters.

The impetus for this series was the #YourTurnChallenge on Seth Godin’s blog. The challenge is to write one post every day for seven days, starting today. After some contemplation (and despite a full schedule), I decided to accept this challenge. I thought it would be enlightening to readers and cathartic for me to write about my experiences with financial advisers.