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Asking for Help

Published by: Chris Kittrell Date: December 13, 2015

There are times in our lives when we need to ask for help. When we’re confronted with these moments it is most likely because of the gravity of the situation, time constraints or lack of expertise to make an informed choice. The importance of these decisions can vary greatly.  It could be as simple as whether to mow your own yard or as complicated as developing your own financial plan. You may not have the time to mow your yard, and thankfully it’s not overly difficult to find someone qualified to take on this task. Even if they mess up, the grass will grow back. When it comes to developing a financial plan and managing your wealth it’s a different story which in many cases involves a lifetime of work and savings. The assets represented in your plan are irreplaceable. It’s not like you can go back in time thirty or forty years and start over.

When making decisions as important and future-shaping as those involved in your financial plan, it’s appropriate and responsible to seek wise counsel.  Unfortunately, many that find themselves ready to engage a professional advisor begin with the misconception of a “Prince Charming” who has uncanny insight into the stock markets up or down direction. But of the many roles a professional advisor should play, fortune teller is not one of them.   The truth is that no one knows what will happen next in the investment markets. If they did have a working crystal ball, it’s unlikely they would be spending their working hours as an advisor, broker, or financial journalist.

Some folks may still think an advisor’s role is to deliver market-beating returns year after year. Generally, those are the same people who believe good advice equates to accurate market predictions. They tend to jump from advisor to advisor and live in perpetual frustration as it relates to the management of their wealth.  When rubber meets the road, the real value of a trusted advisor is not dependent on the state of markets. Their true value is evident when volatility and emotions are running high.

So what should you look for in wise counsel? I believe now, more than ever, investors need advisors who can provide client-centered expertise while assessing their financial situation and developing a plan to help them meet their goals. There is also great value found in an independent and objective voice in a world full of product pushers and salespeople. A good advisor will listen to clients’ fears, draw out the issues driving those feelings, and provide practical, long-term answers. Find an advisor that will build a long-term wealth management strategy that matches your risk appetite and lifetime goals. Even when the strategy is in place, doubts and fears inevitably arise. At this point, the advisor becomes a coach, reinforcing principles and keeping you on track.

Wise counsel does not always take the shape you expect.  It’s not flashy, filled with bravado, or guaranteeing the next big thing.  Instead wise counsel combines technical knowledge with an understanding of how money issues intersect with the rest of people’s complex lives.  The value of wise counsel can never be underestimated.

Chris Kittrell is co-founder and Senior Advisor at Rather & Kittrell.  He is available at ckittrell@rkcapital.com