People see them regularly. Numbers tell the story. They give advice, which the listener promises to (but rarely) follows. They make another appointment before leaving. Are we talking about the family doctor or the financial advisor? These roles are more similar than you think.
Why is this important? The public holds physicians in high esteem while a financial advisor is often considered a securities salesperson. If the advisor can align how both professions work to make the person’s life better, the advisor’s status should rise as a result.
10 Ways Advisors and Doctors Are Similar
1. It’s all about you. Although the word “fiduciary” is a hot potato, both the physician and the advisor work in the person’s best interests. Each wants the person to have a long, stress-free life with as few bumps in the road as possible.
2. Get out in front of the problem. People get regular physicals and checkups because physicians want to identify problems as early as possible, when it’s often easier to address them. Advisors look at a client objective like retirement and try to persuade the client to start preparing now.
3. Checkups. To be in the position of acting, not reacting, doctors want to see you regularly. Your next appointment is scheduled before your current one is over. Advisors want clients to have at least a comprehensive annual review, hopefully with quarterly reviews in between.
4. By the numbers. You get a blood test before your physical. They weigh you and compare it to your previous weight. Ditto your blood pressure. Your doctor looks at a screen, noting what numbers are borderline our outside the accepted range. They recommend a course of action. By looking at the numbers at your next appointment, they know if you have been following instructions and taking your medicine. The financial advisor’s annual review and progress to goals reporting is very, very similar.
5. Part of a larger operation. The physician is affiliated with a hospital. They have specialists. People know their doctor isn’t an expert in everything. They refer you when necessary. Data is shared. Many financial advisors have a big firm behind them. They have specialists. Data is shared here, too.
6. Licensed profession. You can’t just say “I’m a doctor” and start seeing patients. You need to qualify. Generally speaking, you can’t hang out a sign saying “I’m a financial advisor” and start advising people. You need the right licenses. Many advisors study to earn their CFP designation.
7. Continuing education. Medicine didn’t stop advancing when you doctor qualified. Your doctor is likely required to keep up with their field through continuing education requirements. Most financial advisors are in the same situation.
8. Long-term relationships. Getting medical care isn’t like buying gas for your car. You don’t shop around, constantly switching providers. Continuity has a value. Most people prefer to stay with their primary doctor who knows their history. Financial advisors seek to build long-term relationships, often lasting generations.