John Wayne is often credited with saying “Life is hard; it’s harder if you’re stupid.”
Truth be told, at least according to Snopes, he never actually said it.
It doesn’t matter if he did or didn’t. If you know John Wayne and the characters he portrayed, it’s more than fitting as something he would have said.
In fact, a lot of things are tougher if you’re, well, shall we say, “mentally challenged,” or, perhaps more to the point, “inexpert.”
This is especially true of investing. Hordes of behavioral researchers have gone out of their way to show just how “inexpert” the investing public really is.
Is it any wonder that surveys show those who use professionaladvisers are more likely to achieve their financial goals?
Which reminds me of a conversation I had with a service provider I was interviewing several weeks ago. I can’t remember the exact topic, but the crux had to do with educating retirement savers.
When I presented a hypothetical situation where the saver made an obviously incorrect decision, the service provider said something that astounded me. He said we couldn’t force the customer to do the right thing, indeed, we must always abide by the customer’s demands because “the customer is always right.”
It’s been years since I had my formal training in trust and fiduciary services, but one of the first things taught us was, as a fiduciary, it was our duty to always act in the best interests of the beneficiary.
That includes doing the exact opposite of what the beneficiary wants if we know, in our professional judgment, carrying out that request might harm the beneficiary. (For more on this, read “When Must a Fiduciary Just Say “No” to a Client?” FiduciaryNews.com, July 28, 2015.)