Financial planning can be a complex and overwhelming process, especially if you’re not well-versed in financial jargon, but it’s important to recognize the difference between true financial planning and a sales pitch. If you aren’t sure how to tell whether an advisor actually has a planning process or just gives sales pitches all day, we’re going to tell you what to look out for to help you identify the difference.
Let’s start with the focus of the conversation. A true financial planner will ask you a number of questions like financial goals, risk tolerance, and time horizon so that they can tailor their advice to your specific needs. They will focus on the big picture and discuss various investment options and strategies that might align with your goals.
On the other hand, a sales pitch will often focus on a specific investment product or service without taking into consideration your unique financial situation. They will make grand promises and use persuasive tactics to convince you to invest in their product. If it seems like your advisor isn’t actually listening to your goals and needs, that’s likely the first sign they aren’t building a true plan.
The second thing to look out for is transparency. A true financial planner will be transparent about their fees, potential conflicts of interest, and the risks associated with any investment strategy they recommend. They will encourage you to ask questions and provide you with all the necessary information to make informed decisions. In contrast, a sales pitch may downplay the risks and fees associated with their product and avoid answering difficult questions. It also might try to rush you into making a decision without giving you enough time to do your own research or seek a second opinion.
The last thing to look out for is whether the advisor provides you with a comprehensive financial plan. A true planner will create a detailed plan that covers all aspects of your financial life, such as retirement planning, tax strategies, and estate planning. They will provide ongoing support and monitor your progress towards your goals rather than setting you up with a one-size-fits-all plan and sending you on your way.
If you keep these things in mind the next time you sit down with a financial planner, you’ll be able to better recognize the differences in service and be able to identify the professional that can better help you achieve your financial goals.