Think about your answers to the following questions.
How do you know your doctor is a good doctor? If or when you have hired an attorney, how did you know they were good, great, or just okay? Why do you go to the dentist you go to? How much money in taxes would you have saved if you used a CPA instead of doing your own taxes? If you used an accountant, could you have saved more taxes with a different accountant?
Your answers are a bit squishy aren’t they? What is true of any professional with an intangible service (All types of Physicians, Attorneys, Accountants, and Financial Advisors) is that the relative value and difference must be experienced. You improve your odds of working with a quality professional if you do not put “price” at the top of your criteria. One of my favorite quotes is by Red Adair; “If you think a professional is expensive, wait until you hire an amateur.”
I spoke with a client I’ve served for many years. He put it this way; “Ryan, when I began working with you, much of the financial world was blurry and now I feel like everything has come in to focus…I thought I knew a lot, but it took time to recognize I really didn’t know much at all.”
If I was sold the best left-handed golf clubs on the planet for $100, that price would be an expensive waste of money because I’m right-handed! Would you pay $10,000 to breathe for a month? As you read this, that seems like a lot for nothing, unless you were dying, and it bought you one additional healthy month to do as you wish. Value is what everyone wants in any area of your life. Knowing what represents Financial Advisor value can be challenging.
When you work with a professional you trust, during good times and not so good times, it’s valuable, whether related to your health, taxes, legal issues or financial planning. You feel and respect the value of working with the best. Wealthy families are not wealthy because they go around buying cheap stuff. Savvy investors understand there are limitations to their knowledge and seek the best professionals who know the tax code, the latest research, and strategies.
Within these areas, there may be a significant gap in outcome between amateurs and professionals:
Proper asset allocation consistent with family’s comfort level with investment risk.
Disciplined rebalancing to maintain proper allocation.
Tax-efficient asset location which is very individualized.
Investment cost effectiveness.
Focusing on Total Return instead of chasing Interest and Dividend Yields.
The biggest difference, by far, between Amateurs and Professionals is the impact of emotion and behavior.
Fear and indecision can cost investors substantially over time.
Confirmation bias is a polite way of saying people ignore truth and only see supportive information.
Amateurs sell low and buy high. When you buy or sell a security, it is irrelevant what the price was in the past. The professional is only concerned about thefuture outlook. Past performance does not indicate future performance. Pros know this to be true. Amateurs say they understand before ignoring this truth.
You would not perform your own surgery. You should not represent yourself in a court proceeding. If you are your own advisor, then you have not experienced working with a high performing professional.