My Investment Career Began in 2006.
In the same year, my dad retired. Dad worked for a Fortune 500 company for 25 years. During those years, he saved part of his salary for retirement through a company 401(k) plan. Shortly after my dad retired, he also received a small inheritance.
Dad wanted help with his retirement fund. He needed to know how to move his money into an IRA Rollover account. He wanted guidance on how to manage his retirement savings and his small inheritance. I was not yet licensed to sell investments, so I invited Dad to meet a Certified Financial Planner®.
The planner gave a creative presentation. He touted his religious accolades, and his status as a Top Wealth Manager. We trusted his advice, and Dad purchased the investment products recommended by the Certified Financial Planner®.
I felt a sense of satisfaction. I loved helping my Dad. Months after the investments were purchased, I sat for and passed the Series 7 General Securities Representative license, which qualified me to sell securities products.
The Story Doesn’t End There…
After a short time, the stock market began to decline, and recession worries were all the news. The investment markets pulled back substantially. We had peace of mind because the Certified Financial Planner® explained the investment products he recommended as safe. He explained the Non-Traded REIT he sold as a “portfolio stabilizer.” He said its share price would not fluctuate. He also sold Dad a variable annuity that he said was guaranteed to double in seven years.
Why were the Investments Losing Value?
Dad’s account balances were declining, along with the equity markets. As a newly licensed representative, and more so a concerned son, I wanted to find out how and why.
I contacted the product companies directly. I learned the Non-Traded REIT could decline in share price and that it was not liquid, meaning it could not easily be converted to cash. Dad was stuck with it for the time-being. I learned the variable annuity could only be closed by paying a hefty surrender charge. I learned the cash value of the variable annuity was never guaranteed to double in 7 years. I learned the adviser earned a substantial commission when he sold these investments.
This was my first lesson in how economic incentives may influence the products some financial planners recommend. The products sold to my Dad paid the salesperson very high commissions. They were complex financial products under-explained by the salesperson and not optimal for what Dad needed.
Keeping in mind that the least expensive option is not necessarily the best option, other investments with similar benefits were available at that time. They had lower costs without liquidity restrictions and surrender charges. One key difference, they did not pay high commissions. This disgusted me down to my gut; I was sick to my stomach.
This life experience shaped my approach to wealth management, financial planning and the forethought that my clients interest always comes first, sparking my passion as an advocate for investors.
I disclosed the true characteristics of the products to my Dad, and we reviewed his options given the restraints of the investments. Thankfully, the adviser that sold the products is no longer in the picture.
I have been licensed in the investment business since 2007, spending the first decade in an operational and analytical capacity. Fee Aware is my venture into an investor awareness campaign as an Investment Adviser Representative. My goal is to treat every client how I would have wanted my dad to be treated. I want to insure my clients are given fair, carefully considered, suitable recommendations. I strive to investigate investment products in detail, and I take my role offering recommendations seriously.
I use my decade of experience to help investors avoid the pitfalls of unnecessary high fee products and to provide guidance in making prudent investment decisions that benefit my clients financial well-being.
Choosing the Right Investments is Just As Important as Avoiding the Pitfalls of the Wrong Investments.
My goal is to help investors with their financial well-being, and along the way I hope to gain great people as clients. Contact me today to learn more.