The human experience is all about learning and life lessons. We enter this world ready to absorb information that will guide our future decisions throughout life. We accept information and process it as either beneficial or not beneficial to us. We remove non-beneficial, irrelevant information from our memory while keeping the information we believe will benefit us at some point. Without a memory of the past, we can’t operate in the present or think about the future.
But what happens when we’ve received information that is false or isn’t beneficial to us, and we don’t realize it?
If we’ve accepted this information as truth, we likely keep it in our memory, believing we will need to rely on this information for future decisions. Unfortunately, the financial services industry has for decades been one of misinformation and falsehoods often creating problems for consumers when they believe recommendations are in their best interest.
The problem lies in the way the industry makes money through commissions on products. The banking industry, broker-dealers, and wirehouses have made millions from misinformed financial consumers. They even train their salespeople with misinformation that is handed down to consumers. Have you ever wondered why the establishments that should be about financial education isn’t helping educate you? Their concern may be that once you’re educated, you won’t make the same decision again.
There is a way to change a broken industry through education and transparent advice. As financial advisors, our job is to educate you about financial solutions and products available to solve your particular problem. We advise and educate because that’s what advisors should do; our job is not to sell products. Once you have all of the information, you can make an informed decision for yourself, and you’re always entitled to a second opinion.
We help our clients by encouraging you to ask questions when you don’t understand or give you more time to make a decision. We want you to get your confidence back since you may have been pressured to make decisions before you had time to fully consider them. The industry tried to train you to think you were incapable of understanding ‘complex financial concepts’ or possibly made to feel you were making a mistake if you passed on the recommendations from salespeople.
Only when financial companies and their employees truly act in their client’s best interest will the financial services industry as a whole truly act in the client’s best interest.
For now, we need to be educating and retraining clients for them to protect themselves