Recently, I attended a continuing education lunch at a local steak house. I don't attend these often because I usually I have no problem meeting my CE requirements and it ends up being some product pitch landing me on another email list that is impossible to unsubscribe from. This time however, one of the presenters was with a vendor we use here at ColeFP, and I was interested in a new product development they were releasing and how it might help our clients.
I got "cleaned" up and ventured across town, hoping this would be a worthy investment of my time. Sadly, it turned out to be like so many of these things, I felt completely out of place. I sat at a table of "advisors' whom I had never met and from the conversation prior to the presentation I quickly knew I didn't have much in common with them other than the pork chop we were served. The pork chop was excellent mind you, but I'll save that in case I need to start a food blog to supplement my income.
So let me make a confession. I feel out of place in this industry. This is a not new phenomenon, it has always been the case, but I just don't share the motivations of most folks that go by the name "financial advisor." I wanted to create a business that helped people manage their financial lives without getting fleeced. I believed that one could have a profitable business and still put the interest of the client first and foremost. And we are still here after 14 years, yet I don't feel any more comfortable with vast majority of my colleagues than I did the day I started.
Now don't get me wrong, I know and collaborate with some outstanding advisors, like those in the Garrett Planning Network and most of those in the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, but relatively speaking these are very small schools of fish in vast ocean of that is financial services. The bulk of advisors work in gargantuan companies that have household name recognition despite putting their own interests first. They also work in smaller subsidiaries that clear their assets through back office broker/dealers that most clients have never heard of. These advisors often care more about how much money they can make off their clients or what trip they could win from their broker than whether their advice actually advances their client's well being.
I listened to the presentations and gleaned a helpful nugget or two, but most of the time, I was just uncomfortable. The whole experiment of ColeFP is whether one can grow a business while investing ourselves in the welfare of those we serve.
We are not the largest firm nor do we try to appear to be something that we are not. We simply try to be authentic to ourselves and faithful to our clients. We care about our clients. We attend their funerals when they pass. We visit them in the hospital when we know and are welcomed. We meet with their adult children when asked to help plan for the future. We grieve their divorces, celebrate their retirements, their promotions, and even their graduations. It is sounds trite but we view them as extended family and the longer we serve them the more we know how to help.
It is possible you are uncomfortable with your advisor or with the thought of having an advisor. If that is the case, we hope you will give us an opportunity to show how we can serve you. We aren't for everyone, but we may be just right for you.
To our clients who read this, thank you for your trust in us. Thank you for sharing us with those you know. Your recommendations are the highest honor we can achieve. It is our vocation to serve you and we are always a call away.
To those who want something different in a financial advisory relationship, we invite you to experience ColeFP.