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Sometimes You Should Retreat Before Pressing On

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Before modern military tactics were developed, it was common for the General to move to an elevated position to observe the battle. Typically, soldiers fighting face-to-face with their enemy were so focused on survival that they lacked perspective on whether they were winning or losing until the battle was over. The General’s view, however, prompted adjustments to increase the likelihood of victory.  

Why Volatile Markets Are A Good Time For Second Opinions

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Imagine this: you’re sick and your long-time Primary Care Physician says based on test results, you have an aggressive cancer and your prognosis isn't good.

Do you accept his diagnosis without seeking a second opinion and go home to die, or do you thank him, collect all relevant details and data, and promptly make an appointment with a specialist?

If you’re the type that said you’d like a second opinion, allow me to draw a parallel.

Doctors and financial advisors both deliver life-altering services to people.

Arguably, no two areas can impact the quality of life more than your money and your health.

So why is it that when we get bad news about the markets, people aren’t seeking a second opinion about their money?

Now, I’m here to tell you there are a lot of tire kickers in this world, and by second opinion I don’t mean the client who’s grumpy about paying fair fees or disenchanted with their advisory relationship. There will always be folks who think the grass is greener when their current advisor is doing a perfectly good job. I’m talking about the clients with legitimate questions and concerns about strategy that warrant an objective third party review. A good financial plan accounts for a lot of things, and is geared towards long-term goals. Unfortunately, not everyone has a good financial planner.

If you’re an advisor that’s on top of your game, you’ve likely contacted your clients during this difficult market period and encouraged open dialogue. This is absolutely the best thing to do. Difficult as it may be to hear people you care about (and want to continue to work with) express their anger and frustration, it’s really not about YOU. It’s about the market. Investing involves risk. Welcome to the real world.

However, there are lots of advisors out there who bury their heads in the sand and default to inaction. Don’t be that advisor. Because if you’re clients aren’t hearing from you, and they’re feeling (pick one) nervous/angry/unsettled/uncertain/mad/interested in a second opinion, my feeling is you are not going to be the first person they call.

Proactivity and transparency are two essential qualities of today’s ethical advisor.

What to do?

First, don’t misinterpret the spirit of this message to mean I think you should go out and recruit other advisor’s clients who are unhappy. Absolutely not.

Second, if your client wants a second opinion, let him or her get one. Make a recommendation of a trusted colleague, but also be prepared for them to have their own person in mind. Request an opportunity to review results, and set up a time to discuss.

Third, if you’re the advisor whose client left after receiving a second opinion, look at it as an opportunity to evaluate your relationships and note areas for improvement. Mistakes are part of life, and if there’s something you could have done better, do it better next time.


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