Over the past few days, I’ve had a number of folks tell me they wanted to pursue being financial advisors once they retired. I find this incredibly satisfactory and will be a boon to both the financial advisory business and consumers.
People engaging in financial advice AFTER they’re retired means they don’t need to sell something in order to put food on the table. As such, they’ll be much more able to provide the holistic advice their clients need. I’d even argue that the retired second-career advisor will play more a fiduciary role than the vast majority of fiduciaries out there today.
I’ve said time and again, that being a fiduciary is meaningless. Yet, for some reason professionals in my line of work grasp onto this term as if it proves their value. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, just because you have a CFP and call yourself a fiduciary financial planner makes you no more competent or even less conflicted than a guy peddling Class A shares of American Funds.
And this is the second reason I am so excited for retired folks going into offering advisory services; They have experience.
A HUGE pet peeve of mine is the financial advisory industry continues to push more and more barriers to entry so that only a specific few can actually hold themselves out as financial planners. The last I checked they were pushing not only having a college degree (as if that means anything) but also a CFP(again as if that means anything). If you don’t have both you can not hold yourself out as a financial planner, they advocate.
So, I asked, “what happens to those who don’t follow suit? An arrest?”
To which my colleagues advocating such silliness always scoff yet never actually answer the question To then show the absurdity of their position, I would say, “one should have a Master’s Degree, a CFP and over 20 years experience, before one can hold himself out as a financial planner. If those things are not met, it’s illegal to call oneself a financial planner.”
My provocation would always go unresponded, which I found enlightening: Those pushing the barriers to entry with the need for a CFP and a college degree were usually 20 or early 30-somethings, who, without much experience, were looking for any way to differentiate themselves from the pack.
Calling oneself a fiduciary is the other way to do this, by the way and thus why I find it a meaningless title.
Back to my point about the second-career advisors, the experience they have is worth more than all the CFP courses combined. Trust me, I taught a CFP course at Virginia Commonwealth University, nearly 15 years ago now. It’s literally just textbook stuff, not real life.
Should you know SOME of the material in the CFP course? Sure. Does it make any worse a financial planner if who doesn’t know much of the material of the course but actually has real-world experience? Of course not
My mom would blow these whipper-snappers away with her knowledge of personal financial planning. Yet, no CFP was she. And only graduated from college late in her 30s, night school from the University of Southern Maine with a degree in accounting all the while raising 3 kids on her own.
During the day, she did the books for a small time restaurant in Portland, Maine. But she also studied investments. And her understanding of accounting, degree or not, plus her life experiences made her a much better investor than some fresh-faced kid out of CFP school.
On top of that she knew what personal financial planning ACTUALLY means. Scarcity! I have a limited amount of money. I have 3 kids who need new shoes and food. Also the gas bill is due and it’s winter in Maine. I can’t afford all of these things, which should I spend my money on?
That is financial planning. A bootstrap financial planning if you will. And that is the financial planning that most Americans are dealing with. Most Americans are not dealing with estate taxation. Setting up Charitable Remainder Trusts. Knowing what “boot” is. (That was a topic in my CFP course. I knew it then to pass the stupid exam, but have no clue what it is now. I guess I need to turn in my CFP, no? )
The point is we need MORE competent people in financial planning. More who don’t need to sell stuff to get by. More who have experience, not just some academic credentials. More who can relate to people who need them.
So, if this is you and you’re entertaining the move, or even if you’re just looking for more skills to manage your own affairs here are the books you need.
Common Sense on Mutual Funds: https://amzn.to/2NYHqqS
Spend Till The End: https://amzn.to/2K4DCU8
Beyond The Grave: https://amzn.to/2K0baTl
Understanding Living Trusts: https://amzn.to/2QcUD2r
In closing, my friends, the water is warm. Jump in and offer yourself, for a fee or otherwise. Just get out there and help people. People need you and if you don’t take this challenge they’ll be left to the whims of the credentialed yet un-informed.