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When it Comes to Having an Investment Advisor…is Nice, Enough?

Recently I had a Get Her Done Chat with a lovely lady named Susan who’s turning 60 soon. She’s starting to think seriously about retirement (because she’s been watching me and all my tips on YouTube and TikTok).

She has $500,000 managed by one of the big investment firms and she’s paying a 1.5% management fee. That’s $7,500 per annum or $625/month. Not an insignificant amount. However, fees are an issue in the absence of value.

I asked her what services the advisor is providing (i.e. value)? Other than meeting once a year to review her portfolio and making some adjustments, she really couldn’t come up with any other value.

She also admitted she doesn’t really understand what the firm/advisor is doing with her money, or why. She did say the advisor, who she’s had for several years, is likable and nice.

But….when it comes to your money and retirement, is nice enough?

We talked a bit more, and it became clear the nice advisor has never had the proper money and retirement conversation (nor provided any education). A conversation and education that my new friend Susan really needs (and deserves), by the way.

Me: “So has your advisor brought up (and educated you about)…

  • Retirement risks and how to mitigate them? Longevity, volatility, sequence of return, inflation, interest rates, etc.?
  • Optimized retirement portfolios?
  • Retirement income planning (generating protected income for life)?
  • Social Security timing & maximization?
  • Healthcare planning?
  • Long-term care planning?
  • Life insurance planning?
  • Tax planning for retirement?
  • Using home equity as an income buffer?
  • Estate planning?
  • Non-financial topics such as: lifestyle planning (where you’ll live, what you’ll do, purpose, mental and physical health, social connections, etc.)?

Susan: “Nope. Nada. Just my investments. I did ask him about Social Security and he said I can take it whenever I feel like it (me: ugh). I also asked him about annuities and he said, “Run. If anyone ever brings up annuities to you, run away from that advisor.”  (me: ugh again)

Before I could respond, Susan added, “I don’t even know when I can retire or how much money I can take from my 401k or when? Or if, god forbid, I run out of money and become a bag lady. I’m just feeling a little panicked and the thought of not having a regular paycheck from working is frightening.”

Wow…so much to unpack from her response. It was crystal clear that Susan’s nice advisor was clueless about retirement planning. As I explained to Susan, “There’s many, many investment-only advisors. This doesn’t make him bad at his job. I’m not here to judge that. It just makes him inappropriate for the “retirement planning” job you need done now. And, for an equal to or potentially lower fee than what you’re currently paying, you could be benefiting from FULL retirement planning vs. just investment advice.”

Susan decided to schedule another chat with me to dig into her details (yay). I encouraged her to take my free Her Retirement Masterclass and to check out a preview of my retirement readiness software platform before our next chat.

I explained that getting foundational retirement literacy is a key part of the Her Retirement process. This will allow her to have more informed conversations with retirement experts and make more informed decisions. She’ll also be taking a complete financial inventory within my software and will benefit from a personalized G.R.O.W. guide the software produces for her. The guide will identify her Gaps, Risks and Opportunities, which is a foundational element to her ultimate retirement plan.

I’m looking forward to being an active listener and collaborator with Susan on her journey to “more.”

Unfortunately, there’s many conversations going on across the country that are similar to Susan’s with her investment advisor. Approximately 5,200 women are turning 60 every day in the United States.  It scares me to think of the lost opportunity many women will have to improve their retirement outcome, simply because they aren’t getting the quality advice and education around retirement they deserve. Sometimes, it’s simply because they don’t know what they don’t know. They don’t know who to turn to and who to trust.

In addition, as the Great Wealth Transfer unfolds over the next decade, women will become increasingly vulnerable as they inherit significant wealth. This demographic shift, which will see trillions of dollars transferred from the older generation to their heirs, places women at a unique risk. Many women, especially those who may not have been the primary financial decision-makers in their households, could find themselves navigating unfamiliar financial terrain. This vulnerability is exacerbated by the potential influx of unscrupulous advisors looking to exploit their lack of financial literacy or experience. These predatory advisors may offer seemingly attractive financial products or services with hidden fees, poor returns, or outright fraud. It is crucial for women to seek out trustworthy, transparent, and knowledgeable financial/retirement advisors to safeguard their newfound wealth and ensure their financial security for the future.

My mission with Her Retirement is to encourage more women to become students and stewards of their life and retirement. With my “More for Her Movement,” I want all women to Know More. Have More & Live More (now and in retirement).

I also connect women with professionals who are nice AND knowledgeable about all this retirement planning stuff…while also providing A LOT more value than the average Joe investment advisor. If you’re a single or suddenly single professional woman who wants more, I can help you Get Her Done.  Reach out because no, nice is not enough.