Are You a Number with Your Financial Advisor?

Gwen Garrison |

Yesterday, I called a door hardware vendor to see if I could customize replacement door hardware, I had ordered from Home Depot. 

“Of course,” said the cheerful voice on the phone.

“Do you need my order number?” I asked, holding a sheaf of paperwork at the ready.

“No, all I need is your name….”

When is the last time we heard that? Does our financial services professional treat us that personally?

They should.

Financial services advisors provide advice and planning for some of the most important areas of our lives. Don’t settle for generic, impersonal service. This is a matter of great significance.

It’s been in the news. Larger national and regional financial institutions are moving their smaller, “less significant” investors to “service centers”, essentially customer service phone centers. They are not interested in one-on-one personal relationships — understanding and remembering who you are — your needs and your goals. These “smaller” accounts from “smaller” investors just aren’t worth investing the firm’s time. Worse yet, the services you receive as an investor are “canned,” impersonal and sometimes downright unfriendly!

In contrast, I met a woman in her 70’s who was referred by her CPA.  Newly widowed, she was trying to access her husband’s 401k at his employer to move it to an IRA in her name so she could begin taking income.  She had been trying for 3 months and 7 phone calls.  But she kept getting shuffled around from person to person at the 800-number until she finally hung up in frustration.  Knowing we could be on the phone for some time, I suggested we go get lunch and then tackle it together. I promised her that I would set aside that afternoon and that we would not leave my office until we had accomplished her goal.  It took 2 ½ hours, but we did it.  While we were on hold, we got to know each other and shared stories about our families.  As a result of that visit, this lady has been a wonderful client for more than 13 years.

What is Small?

 

Just what is a “small investor” to many of these national and regional firms? How much is considered “insignificant?” You might be surprised to know that investors with as much as $100,000 to $200,000 to invest are being considered too small for personalized, relationship-based service. Thus, many financial professionals willingly move their clients to such “service centers” in order to devote their time to the “big fish.”

 

What’s Important to Life Plan Financial Advisors?

 

You are. It’s simple. We take the time to get to know you. We pride ourselves on providing customized, personal advice to help you make the most of the resources you have. We spend the time required to understand you, your hopes and needs, and your risk tolerance — all part of your unique financial situation. Then we craft a personalized financial plan for YOU.

 

There are four steps:

Discover: Get to know you and your situation.

Plan: Put the best choices into writing with specific goals, strategies and timetables.

Implement: Put the resources where they need to go, and address other needs such as estate planning, college savings, and more.

Monitor: Keep watch over your investments, meeting with you annually or more often as needed. Make changes as required to keep you on track.

 

New to investing? New to handing your finances? In the midst of life changes and need advice?

 

If you want a financial advisor who knows your name and cares about your success, we encourage you to reach out to Gwen or Sibyl by going to www.lifeplanfinancialadvisors.com to schedule a virtual meeting or phone call.  There is no charge for an introductory conversation.