Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Financial Planning - Even on Vacation

Have you ever shopped in a popular tourist spot, perhaps in Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, or a similar location? You might notice a couple of things:
  • How much each store's offerings looked like the others;
  • How quickly each shop was willing to negotiate price;
  • How likely each shop was to position their products as superior without any verification of the claim.
This behavior isn't specific to swap-meet type atmospheres. In fact, many financial planning professionals do the same thing. Most financial advisors, both small independent firms and large wirehouses, speak a lot about being more customized and individually focused, sensitive to the individual client's objectives, using disciplined and proven approaches, having relevant experience, and linking everything together. Are these truly differentiators in the financial planning industry? Perhaps more importantly, is there any substance to actually back up these claims.

The swap-meet vendors actually aren't different at all. Their products are the same, and of the same quality. Consequently, they must attempt to differentiate on price. Many financial advisors are similar. Thus, I would advise individuals looking for a financial planner to be wary of advisors who tout price first and foremost. What value are they actually adding?

So does Net Worth Advisory Group look like every other financial planning firm? I'd strongly argue we don't. First, we are a fee-only financial planning firm, meaning we never collect commissions on the products we recommend. This enables us to provide objective advice without a concern for our own compensation. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is the primary organization for fee-only financial planners. Of the over 800,000 financial advisors in the United States, less than 2,000 are NAPFA members. Second, Net Worth Advisory Group truly does provide superior service. We conduct physical meetings with our clients at least every six-months. These are appointments set up by us, not by the client. How many other financial advisors do that? Of course, we are also available daily to address any questions and concerns a client may have.

Does Net Worth position our products as superior without any verification of the claim? First, all Net Worth financial advisors are either Certified Financial Planners (CFPs) or candidates to become CFPs. The CFP designation is the platinum standard signifying financial planning expertise. It illustrates that the advisor is well-versed in every major aspect of personal financial planning. Of the 800,000 financial planners out there, only about 7.5% are CFPs. Second, we provide each of our clients with a comprehensive financial plan that is updated and reviewed during every six-month meeting. These plans are individual-focused and deal with every element of a client's financial life, ranging from retirement planning, to insurance coverage, to investment portfolio management, to estate planning and taxes, and more. This simply isn't a common practice in the financial planning industry. Third, Net Worth Advisory Group utilizes various investment models that were developed in house and are only used by our firm. These strategies have consistently outperformed their appropriate benchmarks.

In summary, I strongly believe Net Worth Advisory Group is vastly different from most financial advisory firms, and thus, we don't need to compete on price alone. However, this does not say that Net Worth Advisory Group is an expensive option. In fact, close examination will reveal that investing through our firm is not only cost-competitive, but extremely cost-efficient.

So given these factors, why not give us a try? Call today (801.566.0740) to schedule a complimentary consultation.

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