Middle class deserves unbiased advice by The Editor

“Watch out for friends, family, work associates, the government, politicians, news anchors, and anyone around you who has an agenda of negativity. Attitudes, like disease, are contagious. Your enemies are not your problem when it comes to your attitude. Remember that success is your obligation, your duty, and your responsibility.” – GC

Middle class deserves unbiased advice by The Editor

It’s time for the industry to stop turning a blind eye toward its own inconvenient truth: The people in this country who are most in need of unbiased financial advice either cannot get it or are getting it from brokers who are not necessarily looking out for their best interests.

This truth means that the vast majority of middle-class Americans are left to fend for themselves when it comes to navigating such crucial financial issues as credit card debt, buying a home, sending their children to college and setting themselves up for a comfortable retirement.

Had honest financial advice been as affordable and as readily accessible as, say, a gym membership or a subscription to Netflix, such financial catastrophes as the mortgage crisis of 2007 or the explosion of the technology bubble in 2000 might have been blunted — if not completely averted. And more Americans would be better prepared for retirement.

Indeed, 43% of Americans have not “spoken to anyone” — friends, family and financial advisers included — about the state of their retirement planning, according to a study of more than 5,000 adults released in April by Northwestern Mutual. If that’s not bad enough, the study also found that 21% are “not at all confident” they will be able to reach their financial goals.

For too many years, financial advisers, and the associations that represent them, have talked about the need to figure out a way to deliver unbiased financial advice to middle-class investors. But relatively few have put their words into action.

The vast majority of financial advisers today continue to charge fees based on assets under management and have an incentive to pursue wealthy clients. In fact, many financial advisers deliberately turn away less wealthy clients by imposing lofty minimums of $1 million or more.

NEW MODELS

Let’s be clear: We are not suggesting advisers offer their services for free or at a cost that would make it impossible for them to stay in business. Rather, we urge advisers to consider ways to expand their compensation models to include hourly rates, flat rates for specific services and even subscription-based pay. That would make it easier for investors who are serious about developing a financial plan but lack the savings necessary to meet minimums to have the same access to financial advice as their wealthier neighbors.

We also urge the groups that represent advisers to work harder — either individually or as a coalition — to develop a blueprint for increasing middle-class Americans’ access to unbiased financial advice…

Read full article at: Investment News

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