Industry veteran Matt Lynch, a principal with Tiburon Strategic Advisors, hosted a panel discussion at NAPFA’s Spring Conference 2013 featuring three female clients and their criteria for selecting, retaining or rejecting advisors.
Referring to each in their first name only, Lynch asked them to relate their personal stories and how they came to be with their current financial advisor.
“I had $10,000 I had saved,” Margie began. “I was proud I had saved it but had no idea how to start investing. The advisor I went to patted me on the hand and said, ‘Why don’t you put it in a nice savings account.’ I felt so humiliated.”
The experience left her bitter toward advisors, but she eventually decided to attend a lunch thrown by a female advisor.
“She was offering six weeks of sessions, one night a week, for free. I signed up. That was 18 years ago, and I never looked back. My husband and I just reached our retirement goals last week,” she added to applause.
Nancy said she and her husband went to a financial advisor who, despite repeated requested to move the assets to more conservative investments, left them in riskier assets than they felt comfortable.
“My husband died of cancer, and the assets were still in the risky investments when he passed,” she said. “I felt betrayed. It was important that my new advisor have honesty, integrity, respect and empathy. I wanted her understand this feeling of betrayal.”
Joyce added that “young people think that just because we’re aging, we check our brain at the door. We can still think. Respect is critical. Every one of my advisor’s employees knows me and my situation. It feels good when I walk through the door.”
Margie added that it’s a very personal journey and she feels like she’s “going to the father confessor.” She wanted someone who would listen and that she could trust, but at Wells Fargo, where she has some of her accounts, “they keep changing personnel, which makes it hard to make that connection.”
Although some of Margie’s friends think financial advisors cost too much, Margie noted that “you will pay for it one way or another. With the fee model, I know what it will cost upfront.”
"The money I spent on a financial advisor was the best investment I ever made,” Joyce added. “I go so far as to trust them with my children’s future. As mothers, we don’t give this lightly.”
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