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Announcing New Thank You Program For Client Referrals

DonorsChoose.org LogoMany of our new clients were referred to us by our existing clients. The greatest compliment we can receive is for a client to appreciate our service to the point of telling their friends and family members about us.

I am excited to announce a new program to thank you for referring new clients to us. Every time someone that you refer schedules a Get Acquainted Meeting, we will send you a $50 gift card to DonorsChoose.org.

What is DonorsChoose.org?

DonorsChoose.org is an online charity that connects donors to teachers that need money to fund classroom based projects. DonorsChoose.org allows you to donate the funds on the gift card to a specific project that you want to support.

This is our way of saying thank you for helping us build our business, all while supporting a wonderful charitable organization. You can click here to learn more about the program, and to learn how to use the gift card once you receive it.

You can e-mail me directly if you have any questions.

Millennials are tech savvy, tightfisted savers – USA Today

USA Today LogoAre young investors terrified of the market? This is a question that a lot of experts are asking after a recent study showed that 43% of investors aged 18 – 34 consider themselves to be conservative investors. Christine Dugas, a personal finance reporter with USA Today, asked what I’m seeing from my young clients when it comes to investing.

“They are scared of the market and understandably so,” says Alan Moore,a financial planner and founder of Serenity Financial Consulting in Milwaukee. “Many have seen their parents lose 50% of their retirement savings in six months.”

The real issue is that the number one advantage young investors have is time; Time to recover from losses, and time for compounding interest to have a dramatic effect. Being invested conservatively at a young age means making financial sacrifices .

Moore understands the problems that Millennials face because he is 25 and many of his clients are members of his own generation. And if they are only willing to invest 40% of their savings in stocks at a young age, vs. 80%, he tells them that they will have to consider other options to boost their retirement savings, such as saving more, buying a smaller home, or working longer.

There is a trade off with every financial decision. It is my job as a financial planner to help educate clients on those trade offs, and then work with them to implement the option they feel is best for them and their family.

You can Click Here to read the article.

Just Ask “Do You Have A License?”


Financial SalesmanAfter a recent presentation to AARP for their Ready for Retirement series, an attendee asked how to find a quality financial advisor. This is a great question that is unfortunately difficult to answer. Why? Because certain parts of the financial community have spent a lot of money lobbying Congress to keep it that way.

If you frequent this blog, you know that I believe:

  1. Your financial advisor should be fee-only; no other compensation structure is acceptable. This eliminates a lot of the conflicts of interest that exist in the world of financial product sales.
  2. Your financial advisor should always be a fiduciary, which means they will always make recommendations and act in your best interest.
  3. You should always ask a lot of questions when interviewing a financial advisor. You need to know a lot about the advisor before turning over your life savings to them.
  4. You should do a background check on the advisor. FINRA & the SEC have made this process much easier in recent years.

All of these recommendations take a lot of time and energy. What if you just want to find out really quickly if it’s worth digging further? Just ask “Do you have a license?”

What is a license?

All salesmen must be licensed by FINRA to sell financial products, such as mutual funds and annuities. There are different licenses to sell different products, and all are labeled “Series” such as the Series 3, Series 6, & Series 7. These licenses means the holders can transact (sell) financial products. Why is this a bad thing? Because when selling a product, the holder of a license doesn’t have to act in their client’s best interest – they are free to act in their own best interest. I know this sounds absurd, but it’s true.

What about the Series 65?

If you do a FINRA check on me, you will find that I hold the Series 65, which is sort of the odd man out when it comes to licensing. It is the one in the series that allows the holder to give investment advice, but doesn’t authorize the holder to sell any products. It is required in almost every State, so every fee-only advisor you talk to will either have it, or will have exempted it.

Look out for salesmen wearing an advisors hat

Unfortunately, some salesmen are allowed to be both salesmen and advisors for the same client – we call them dual-registered (Some call them double dippers – I typically call them crooks, but I know that isn’t nice).This means that when they are giving you advice, they are acting in your best interest, but when selling you the product they recommended, they act in their own best interest. This is incredibly confusing, and something several other countries have made an illegal practice. If your salesman tells you they are also an advisor, walk away… If they have a license to sell ANY product, go find someone else.

So what do you think? If you ask if your advisor has a license, I would love to hear from you! I may feature your story in an upcoming blog post (Anonymously of course).

I would like to thank Blair duQuesnay, owner of ignite Investments & Planning in New Orleans for the inspiration for this blog post. You can find her on Twitter at @BlairHduQuesna.