August 12, 2014Does the Foreign-Policy Mess Make Gold a Buy?
The chaos in Ukraine, Iraq and Israel has gold bugs crawling out of the woodwork. What are you telling clients?
You can’t lose with gold when international tensions are running this high.60% I like a little gold as portfolio ballast even when the U.S. isn’t bombing anybody.40% Gold is so 20th century. Unless demand suddenly skyrockets, I say steer clear.0% My clients are asking about gold because they don't trust the stock market.
August 5, 2014How Do You Serve Clients Who Swear They’ll Never Retire?
Many clients — especially business owners — fully intend to work until they die. What’s the advisor’s role?
Focus on estate planning and charitable giving.44% Create a “stealth” retirement plan based on covering medical contingencies.0% Fight back tooth and nail, saying that’s not a viable long-term strategy.13% I’ve never had a client who wanted to die in the harness.
July 29, 2014Will Floating-NAV Money Funds Matter to Clients?
The SEC last week said it would reform the way certain money-market funds are valued and redeemed. Should clients care?
The SEC is basically announcing, “These funds are risky.” I’m telling clients to put their cash in CDs and T-bills.53% The new rules won’t take effect for two years, so we’re not making any changes for the time being.26% Not at all. Retail funds will still be a buck a share, and redemption “gates” are a good idea.
July 22, 2014What Use Are Advisor Certifications?
From the generalized CFP to the hyperspecific CRPC and CEPA, advisor designations are said to help differentiate service in a competitive field. What is their main value?
The coursework and continuing education keep me informed and on top of my game.26% Certification in a niche like retirement or small-business ownership boosts my credibility with clients.6% Getting a designation brings entrée into a community of like-minded advisors.26% Designations are worthless, even as window dressing — because clients don’t care.
July 15, 2014How Many Hours a Week Do You Work?
Financial advice is notoriously time-intensive. How long is your average workweek?
It’s usually close to 60. There’s no way to get everything done in less time than that.38% It’s highly variable, depending on everything from time of year to how the market’s doing.14% I make a point of working a normal 40-hour week. If you can’t do that, something is wrong.16% I run a lifestyle practice. Most days, I’m out of the office well before 5.
July 8, 2014Do You Explain Investment Terms Like Beta and Valuation to Clients?
Advisors eat and breathe financial concepts most people comprehend vaguely, if at all. Should you explain them in layman’s language?
Always. My clients should understand every move I make with their money, on a granular level.26% Usually. Most are eager to learn about how I do what I do.44% Rarely. Few clients care about the mechanics of the capital asset pricing model.24% Never. Nitty-gritty portfolio management isn’t how I want them to think about financial planning.
July 1, 2014How Casual Is Too Casual for Summer Office Wear?
It’s hot. It’s sticky. Should advisors consult their own comfort or play it safe?
Coatless and tieless for men, and chic sandals for women, are OK.40% We’re fine with polo shirts and khakis for men, and sleeveless for women.3% When it’s 100 degrees out, anything goes: shorts, flip-flops, whatever.31% Weather is no excuse to wear anything but business attire in front of clients.
June 24, 2014Does Your Firm Keep Summer Hours?
Many businesses give employees time off or flextime to enjoy the long, warm days. Does yours?
We knock off early on Fridays from June to Labor Day.47% Nothing formal, but we’re flexible when employees want a little beach time.28% Are you kidding? My team needs every hour of the week to do our job right.
June 17, 2014What Do You Find Most Stressful About Being an FA?
You’re in a job with long hours, lots of responsibility and no control over markets. Specifically, what aspects of being a financial advisor set you most on edge?
Responsibility for other people’s financial well-being27% Time management and juggling different tasks49% Retaining and attracting clients
June 10, 2014Do You Use Tactical Programs in Client Portfolios?
Since the financial crisis, some investors have lost faith in buy and hold. Are you a fan of tactical asset allocation?
Yes. It gives me an active way to manage risk.26% Sometimes. Not all clients are comfortable with the approach.4% No. Tactical investing is just another name for market timing.