For the typical financial plan to be successful, you have to be average. Your level of “averageness” creates a profitable demographic in a nice, organized bell curve. The traditional financial planning industry feeds on this demographic like carcasses on the discovery channel. As long as you aren’t great, as long as you have the same skills, needs and dreams as the next guy – you’ll make the perfect client.
Traditional planners have an innate desire to sit in front of you and declare, “With an average return of x%, you can retire in x years!” If everyone looks the same, those financial models can “predict” your outcome. If you ask for something different, the financial planner will use questions to bring you back to normal because they need to generate the same answer for each client over and over. Questions like “What are your goals?” and “What is your risk tolerance?” are all designed to lead you down a well-worn path.
Last time I checked, everyone loves work as an optional activity, and everyone hates losing money. People like eating. A Good financial planner does not have to ask dumb questions with meaningless answers. The “one size fits all” approach is why so many people are frustrated with their financial planners.
The stern reality is that we are all different. Some of us have more resources, some less. Some have great skill, and some don’t. But each and every one of us has something unique, something original when given the right attention that makes us better, stronger and more able to find our own independence. The key to an anxiety-free life is knowing what you do best – embracing what matters most to you and then focusing on these elements every day. A financial planner should help you do just that.