Monday, October 12, 2015

A good financial adviser does more than advise

When the investment world is on a downward spiral, fear begins to take a firm grip on many investors. And when people are fearful, they’re vulnerable to investment scams. This is especially true of elderly investors.

It’s been my experience that, in the spectrum of human emotions, there are two extremes that get people into financial difficulty. Fear and greed.

Fear overrides the brain of people who strive to preserve what they already have. Greed is the emotion exemplified by people who either ignore risk or turn a blind eye to common sense in an attempt to garner unrealistic, off-the-charts investment returns.

The victims of the Ponzi scheme that put Bernie Madoff behind bars were good examples of greed. Some scam artists like Madoff were properly registered, but his antics were not immediately discovered by financial regulators. Many scam artists are nothing more than hustlers, simply out to get their hands on other people’s money.

I firmly believe the vast majority of financial advisers go to great lengths to educate, explain, and communicate with their clients. Consequently, most advisers really get to know them over time.

They know which ones need their hands held during market downturns and, conversely, those who don’t even want to be bothered when the market stumbles. Most advisers meet with their clients year in and year out, regardless of what’s going on in the financial world.

Their discussions aren’t just about the numbers, either. They also include dreams, family issues, health concerns, estate planning and much more. So financial advisers not only help clients meet their financial goals, they also get to know them beyond the numbers.

One of the most difficult aspects of being a financial adviser is seeing clients begin to lose some of their mental capabilities or become seriously ill. These are times when clients are most vulnerable to quick talking scam artists. And when responsible financial advisers intervene to protect their clients from those fast-talkers trying to get into their pocketbooks.

Several years ago I was meeting with a widower client. I sensed his mental sharpness had diminished so I tracked down one of his adult children. She thanked me and said that she had also noticed a change. By getting involved, a problem was averted with minimal financial damage.

In another instance, a client’s spending suddenly increased and a “friend” took inquiring telephone calls instead of the client. Protective Services for the Elderly was contacted and, once again, intervention prevented someone from taking financial advantage of a vulnerable senior.

Of course, not all investors work with a financial adviser. So they lack an extra set of eyes watching out for them; something especially important as they enter the point in life where they have two things that scam artists find most desirable: Money and old age.

That’s why I recommend that people establish a life-long relationship with an adviser during their working years. Advisors can not only help protect you from people trying to pry your money away, they can also help when your health begins to fade or you otherwise struggle with the aging process.

In other words, financial advisers who know their clients are the first line of defense to help protect you and your nest egg from anyone trying to steal your assets.

1 comment:

  1. The article was up to the point and described the information very effectively. Thanks for sharing this topic.
    Financial Adviser