Getting a Second Opinion – 6 Reasons You Owe It to Yourself
No one blinks when you ask for a second medical opinion. After all, it’s your health and well-being. You can’t be too careful. So why don’t more people seek second opinions on their finances? It’s their financial health and well-being after all.
There are many motives for seeking a second financial opinion, and they don’t necessarily imply that you are currently getting bad advice, just like you may not be receiving bad medical advice either. However, if you are, changing investment advisors early on can be a game-changer!
As a matter of fact, I had a prospect visit my office recently to get that second look. His current advisor retired and the new team in charge of his portfolio wasn’t very responsive. His calls or emails weren’t being returned promptly and they wouldn’t give him quantitative projections on how his retirement will go. Just using phrases like, “You’re OK,” or “I wouldn’t worry about it,” wasn’t enough. Those aren’t good-enough responses for your medical health, and they’re not suitable responses for your financial health either!
If you fear the uncomfortableness that may come with having someone new review your financial plan, remember the following things:
There’s a Lot at Stake
Your whole financial future rests upon the decisions you make now. Growing and preserving your wealth impacts both your short-term and long-term goals, and the impact ripples through not only your life but also the lives of your family and loved ones.
With so many futures at stake, it’s almost negligent not to seek a second financial opinion. If a doctor told you that you “were fine” and there was nothing really you could do, would you just accept the advice or ask to speak with someone else?
You can’t go back and undo past decisions, be it eating better in your early-20s or starting your retirement planning earlier, but for everyone’s sake, you can address your current status and take the steps necessary to put yourself on the best possible footing. One of those steps is to speak to a fee-only fiduciary financial professional and get an independent opinion.
Fee-only and fiduciary and the key terms here! All financial advisors are not created equal. Many firms are set up to ensure the firm’s success first, not yours.
At Heritage Capital, we’re different. Our top priority is to make money for our clients. Our team is completely independent, so we don’t have all the conflicts of interest you can find at big-name, Wall Street firms. At Heritage Capital, we also follow a fee-only business model, which means there are no commissions, and no sales. We’re simply free to recommend what’s best for the client. As fiduciaries, we have a legal responsibility to put our clients’ interests first at all time.
Peace of Mind is Invaluable
There may be a part of your mind that tends to question the decisions you make and the advice you receive. That’s healthy, because it ensures you pay attention to the important things that can influence your future.
When you receive financial advice, your instinct for skepticism may seed doubts that intrude upon your peace of mind. Same is true with any medical advice – you may think you’re healthy, and your friends don’t think you should worry, but an annual checkup never hurt! A second opinion can validate those doubts or put them to rest. Either way, you’ll sleep better at night, and if a change needs to be made, so be it.
You’re the One Taking the Risk
You build your wealth on the strength of your own hard work and the decisions you make. Those decisions carry risks that can have profound consequences. With all due respect to financial advisors, it is you, not them, who will suffer the brunt of mistakes and bad advice.
This means that, for better or worse, you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to your financial future. It’s your money at risk, which means you owe it to yourself to reduce those financial risks by adopting sound strategies and careful planning. A second opinion can alert you to unnecessary risks resulting from the things you are currently doing with your money and the things you are failing to do.
You’ll Have to Live with the Results
Guilt is a terrible feeling. Sometimes, it arises from situations you can’t help. But on other occasions, it can occur because you didn’t take an action that, in retrospect, you should have. In either case, it’s your burden to carry and you’ll have to live with the results.
You can’t undo the past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t seek to remedy past errors. In financial matters, it’s possible to make mistakes of grave significance, but often, you have enough time to recover from bad decisions or bad luck. That recovery window shrinks as we age, which means that you shouldn’t postpone getting a second financial opinion. The sooner you act, the more time you’ll have to adopt a better strategy that can help prevent situations that you’ll later regret.
Read our recent blog post: How to Recover from Financial Loss Right Before Retirement Age.
Decisions Can Affect the Next Generation Too
If you’re a parent or plan to be one, the decisions you make today can also affect your children’s future. A second financial opinion may influence how your kids grow up, what schools they attend, and what opportunities they will have for a happy and fulfilling life.
There is also the matter of your estate. What do you want to do with your money after you’re gone, assuming you will actually have money after you’re gone? Do you have specific bequests in mind for family members, friends, charities, causes and so forth? The world of estate planning, wills, trusts and probate can be quite complex, and that complexity can multiply as your wealth grows. A second opinion can help you address the topic with a fresh perspective. You may be introduced to opportunities you didn’t know existed that can have repercussions for your children, grandchildren and even later generations.
It’s Your Money
Ultimately, it comes down to a simple truth: It’s your money. You earned it, you control it and its caretaking is your responsibility. Seeking another opinion is part of that responsibility.
Often times, we see investors take a very short-range look at their finances, but a portion of your money should be earmarked for purposes that increase your long-term financial security, touching upon your strategies for investing, retirement, taxes, use of insurance, use of debt, housing choices and career development, among others. Another part of your money is allocated to your current lifestyle. A second opinion can give you fresh help as you balance the desires of the present with the needs of the future.
Getting a Second Opinion
Really ask yourself, are you getting your money’s worth from your current financial advisor. Are you paying too much in commissions and fees? Is your financial advisor compensated for the quality of the advice or the volume of your trades? Are your investments performing up to your expectations? Perhaps the most important question: How well are your financial advisor’s interests aligned with your own? Getting a second opinion just might save you money, yield better results, and increase your wealth.
Changing investment advisors doesn’t have to be uncomfortable. Best case scenario, a second opinion confirms you’re on the right track and your financial strategies are working. On the other hand, it can help you identify areas of your financial plan that are not working. In either case, you’ll thank yourself for taking the initiative of getting a second financial opinion. After all, you and your family are worth it!