A Week Focused on How Advisors Can Help You
By Larry Light, Editor-in-Chief
Sept. 19, 2014
AdviceIQ has a central credo: Everyone should have a financial advisor. But not just any advisor – a good advisor, and the right one for you. So for one week in New York’s Times Square, Sept. 15-19, our company, AIQ Inc. put on National Financial Advisor Week.
This was an intensively practical forum to inform the public about personal finance – about how to deal with matters that affect their lives, ranging from funding a retirement to paying for higher education. And about how to get the best guidance on these crucial issues.
The event also featured a sweepstakes that changed Jennifer Rufener’s future for the better: She received a free college education. Today, the average cost in tuition and fees for four years at a private institution is $129,700; for a public school, $38,300. In 18 years, both are projected to increase 2.4 times the current price tag. Jennifer, of Dover, Ohio, who just started her freshman year at Kent State, wants to be an architect.
The plain truth is that too few people plan their finances, and if they had a good advisor, they would be way better off. Yes, learning as much as possible about wealth management is a worthy aspiration. But what doesn’t follow is the glib assertion that everyone can go it alone. A lot of folks lack the time, the expertise and the inclination to fly solo on personal finance.
According to a recent Northwestern Mutual survey, only 31% have a long-term financial plan and just 27% have a financial advisor. I know a lot about finance, and believe me, I am glad I have an advisor. My advisor saved me a lot of money with his acumen and objective analysis. Even those of us with sophisticated knowledge need a savvy third party looking over our shoulders. Every player needs a coach.
And you need to be the smartest player possible. One of our panels, led by Sarano Kelly, founder of Stand Up for Financial Literacy, described the importance of financial education in school. The more you know about your money, the better the decisions you will make.
Our weeklong event, which received nationwide media attention, fell into two basic areas:
Financial coaching. Our distinguished panels of advisors describde the ins and outs of college funding, portfolio management, investing is startups, avoiding scams, understanding 401(k)s, handling debt, picking mutual funds, investing in private companies and talking about money with your spouse. Also, we pinpointed the top 10 mistakes investors make. Other panels delved into selecting individual stocks, making alternative investments and using credit cards intelligently, plus how to prevent emotions from skewing financial decisions.
A user’s guide to financial advisors. Several panels explored the various ways that advisors can help. Many of these counselors are not restricted to investment advice – insurance, wills, real estate and college are just some of the topics people need to deal with. And despite what some say, there is an advisor for everyone. Financial advice is not the exclusive province of the rich.
This was a worthy endeavor, which drew universal praise. And we will make it an annual event.