How we work / Great advice

Who gives great advice?

Great advice usually comes from someone who asks questions and takes the time to listen to you.  They share wisdom gained through experience in a way you can use. They care about you and have your best interest at heart. And bad advice often comes from someone who doesn’t listen, can’t communicate well, or has their own agenda separate from yours.

Financial advice matters!

The advice you receive from a financial advisor can have life-changing impact on you and your family.  Think about the importance of making good financial choices. Whether it is investments, tax planning, or insurance, all of the small choices you make can have a huge impact on where you end up financially.  So how can you spot an advisor who provides exceptional advice?  It’s not easy but here are some keys to look for…

Do they ask questions to understand you before they offer advice?

No one can give good advice without understanding the complete situation.  Your advisor should spend more time asking questions, listening to your responses, and documenting them than talking or providing answers, especially in the beginning of the relationship. The only way for the advisor to learn about you is to ask questions. Can you imagine visiting your doctor and having him or her start making recommendations or performing surgery without asking detailed questions to learn what brings you to their office?

Can you understand the advice you are receiving?

It sounds silly, but this is a real problem.  Financial Advisors are famous for providing colorful charts and graphs, using acronyms and industry jargon, and generally confusing their clients. A competent Financial Advisor will communicate important financial concepts in a way clients can understand so clients can make smart financial decisions. Through this educational approach, clients experience a sense of control and peace of mind.

Is the advisor fee-based or commission based?

Many financial products pay upfront commissions. Upfront commissions mean the financial professional gets nearly all the compensation right away for “making the sale”. They receive very little compensation after the initial sale. Under this model the financial salesperson is on the hunt for “new money” and has little financial interest in providing ongoing service. Worse yet, they may be motivated to move money from existing products whether it is in the interest of the client or not since the financial advisor only gets paid by the sale of a new product. Bottom line, the advisor may have incentive to spend lots of time “making the sale”, little incentive to provide ongoing service, and financial motivation to move money from product to product regardless of what is best for the client.

Fee-based advisors charge a fee based on investments they manage and for planning services they provide.  They generally do not have a financial incentive to use one investment product over another since commissions are no longer paid. You can generally move money from investment to investment without incurring commissions. This means you are as important to the advisor in the future as you are in year one.

We have found the best way to provide value to clients is though our Financial Planning Process. We use an initial meeting to get to know one another and establish where we will focus our time based on the clients’ needs. We set number of meetings that will be needed, clearly define client goals, evaluate their entire financial picture, and look for areas of improvement.  By spending time to understand your goals we tailor our advice. At the conclusion of this process the client can choose to work with us to implement the plan going forward or not. This provides an opportunity to get to know each other before committing to what is often a lifetime relationship.

Bucholtz & Germo uses fee-based investment management and fee-based financial planning.  We believe this is the best way to serve our clients since we are compensated for servicing and retaining clients “one day at a time”.

If you are ready to take the first step to improving your financial future click here for the First Meeting Organizer. Once you submit a completed First Meeting Organizer we will contact you to schedule an appointment for your complimentary first meeting. We look forward to meeting you.