In an article Richard Branson recently posted on LinkedIn, he said, “It’s nice when people agree, but if everyone thought along the same lines all the time, nothing would ever change.” Mr. Branson goes on to explain the need for a balance of “yes men” and mavericks.
After reading the article, I couldn’t help but wonder, “Do we look for ‘yes men’ in our financial planning?”
There are two sides to every financial decision we make – the analytical and the emotional. The analytical side is easy. Our planner shows us the numbers and the numbers don’t lie. Unfortunately, the emotional side of the decision is not clear. Our previous experiences, current concerns and the ever-present, and sometimes uninvited, advice from our friends and family play their respective roles in the decisions we make.
Financial planning is an extremely personal matter, and it is natural to seek out comfort and familiarity when it comes to areas that are near and dear. This is why we look for advisors with whom we have some connection. We want someone who is interested in building an enduring relationship because we know this person will advise us through every major change in our lives – marriage, children, the start of a business, the end of a career, the death of a loved one, retirement, etc. Over the years, this person becomes a friend and someone we truly trust.
Unfortunately, even the best of friends do not always agree. As mature adults in mature relationships, we appreciate and value our friend’s opinions. We actually want our friends to provide the occasionally needed reality check. How many times have you asked your dearest friend, “Am I being a ‘witch’?” And, how many times have they said, “Yes.” It’s tough to hear, but we are thankful for their honesty. We are most thankful for their continued support and lack of judgment about our behavior.
The advice of your financial advisor will not always be what you want to hear. The discussion with them will not always be one we want to have. But our planners have our best interest and the best interest of our families at heart. They know their words are not easy to hear, but because they care, they muscle up the courage to say them anyway. And because they know we are human, they say them without judgment.
What may surprise some of you is that I have my own financial planner. Despite the fact that enabling intentional financial success for my clients is my passion, I need someone else to help me move past the emotional part of my own financial decision making. No, their thoughts are not easy to hear, but I trust them and know they are looking at my situation objectively and with my best interest in mind. The funny thing is that if disaster strikes, my financial advisor will be one of the first five people I call.
If you don’t have an advisor, I encourage you to find one, and don’t let money stop you. Many financial professionals provide services without hourly rates and don’t have minimum asset requirements.
If you do have an advisor but don’t have this type of relationship with them, I beg you to find someone else. This person should be someone you want to be involved in every major change in your life. So, find someone you trust, someone you feel comfortable with and someone who is not afraid to challenge you. After all, “It’s nice when people agree, but if everyone thought along the same lines all the time, nothing would ever change.”