In some ways I consider it a waste of time but it happens often enough that I’ve realized it validates the information I provide. This website and all the newsletters are meant to help consumers but there are plenty of advisors as well who are looking for answers to the same questions. And it makes sense because this site was created more than ten years ago mostly because the science of asset distribution in retirement was and still is unresolved.
Academics study the problem. Insurance and asset management companies create new products and funds as a solution and most advisors just sell the products. Target date funds, dividend stocks, bonds, annuities and various strategies that mix all of the above into a mess of options and ideas. If you think it’s hard to figure out then imagine what it might be like for an advisor who is responsible for making the recommendation.
I only bring this up because about one third of my advertising budget is spent on other advisors who sign up to read my reports. It’s important to understand because some of the people giving advice are just as lost as you might be. Many great things are learned from seeing what’s hiding in plain sight. This has been happening for years and I only just realized it. Advisors ask me for advice because many of them need answers to the same questions as you.
I don’t mind helping out anyone who asks. About a month ago an advisor who reads this letter asked if I’d help him find one of the annuities that I talk about. He was retiring and had just sold his business to a younger guy so was creating his own plan. He had been following this site for a few years and decided this approach is best. He didn’t need me to sell him one, preferring to keep the commission for himself, I assume. That’s fine with me so I took it as a compliment and put him in touch with a couple of companies and told him which products I typically recommend.
A more egregious example from a few years ago came from an advisor who posed as a customer. We went through several meetings and got to the point where he was ready to put my plan into action. He took the questionnaires and promised to return them with all the info so I could complete the applications. To make a long story short, after not hearing from him I eventually was able to contact him. He admitted being new to retirement planning and just wanted me to help with a case he couldn’t figure out.
In addition to this example are three different cases where I was able to determine that someone else had taken one of my reports, personalized the cover and passed themselves off as representatives of my company. I don’t have representatives and I don’t share names from my list because I refuse to put my name on someone else’s recommendation.
Not all examples of advisors using this information are negative and I don’t mind lifting up another professional in the industry with a new idea every now and then. Most who call only want to know if I’ll give them free leads and some want to know if I want a regional partner. Once in a while a nasty comment comes in from some advisor I offended by unintentionally poking holes in his approach. As much as it may seem like there’s too much information there is actually a lack of creativity that produces new ideas and strategies.
A couple of past newsletters partially illustrate the source of the problem. One has to do with there being more salesmen than advisors and the other has to do with how commissions affect annuity sales. You can read either or both by clicking below.
Most information you find will give you a dictionary-like definition or represent nothing more than someone’s opinion. It all relates to pushing available products and collecting assets. But there is a better approach available and just as many advisors are trying to find it as you. As always I am here to help anyone who asks and if you really like the guy you’re working with then send him my way and I’ll teach him a thing or two.
Enjoy your weekend…