In my opinion, a great life follows the arc of learn-earn-return. Throughout childhood and into our 20s, we learn. From our 30s through 60s, we earn. In our mid- to late 60s, we begin to focus on the return phase of life — giving back. This does not necessarily mean retirement. Many of the clients I serve love their work and don’t plan to retire, though others do. But virtually all of them, retired or not, want to give back in some way.
If learn-earn-return is, in fact, the arc of life, this raises some questions. What should you expect from your financial advisor in these life stages? How might the role of your financial advisor change as you progress from one life stage to the next? What can a financial advisor do to help you achieve your goals for each stage?
After working for over 20 years with people who have gone through these distinct stages, I believe the best financial advisors are life partners. They understand your dreams and your family. And they take anticipatory steps to prepare you for the next life stage long before you get there.
The Differences Between A Wealth Manager And A Financial Advisor
Before we go further, I’d like to make an important distinction. While I use the term “financial advisor,” I do so only because most people have some sense of what that means. I generally recommend the use of a wealth manager versus a financial advisor. What’s the difference?
For me, the primary difference is the fiduciary standard. This standard requires an advisor to act in the best interests of their clients at all times.
Those with the certified financial planner designation are held to rigorous ethical standards and are required to maintain a level of excellence in their daily practices. It is challenging to achieve the CFP designation, because it requires many years of experience, education, examination and commitment to ethics. These are called the four E’s, and they really do make a difference in how an advisor works with their clients.