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  • Doug Oosterhart, CFP®

One Very Important Thing About Your Financial Planner You've Never Thought About

One of my top clients introduces me to people saying, "When I'm 80, Doug will be 50 and we will have been working together for 25 years."

Why does that matter?

Generally, when people start working in the financial services industry, they build their practice with clients that are around the same age as they are. It's usually easier since they're probably going through the same life stages and having things in common builds rapport the quickest. I hear from prospective clients a lot that they have been working with a college friend for 20+ years or have an advisor that is close to their age - that's a huge PROBLEM.

I ask prospective clients all the time if their advisor is the same age as they are, and generally the answer is yes. It makes sense, knowing that only 10% of financial adivsors are under the age of 35. In fact, the average age of a financial advisor is 51, with roughly 40% of them retiring in the next 10 years. Simply put, clients will have spent their entire planning career with an advisor that retires before them - leaving the client to figure out the hard part of planning (retirement income). On top of that, only 30-35% of financial advisors have a succession plan to take care of their clients after they exit (I actually talked with a company that does succession planning for advisors and they were shocked that I was calling them being under age 30).

So what should clients do? Seek out a fiduciary (meaning has a legal obligation to work in their client's best interest) financial advisor that has their CFP® designation and a history of working with clients on retirement planning and get a second opinion. Some clients may think that they shouldn't work with someone "inexperienced", but the good news is that the investment world is becoming a commodity. Investors can buy the index funds and like securities on any platform. Where the real value lands is in the advice that client's receive and harnessing the things they can control in the their plan.

One question I ask to almost all prospective clients is, "Don't you want to be working with an advisor in their prime when you're in retirement?" They generally think about it for a second and say, "Yeah, actually I do - I've just never thought about it." Imagine not having to worry about making an advisor change when entering retirement because you've already been working with a CFP® professional for years.

If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at:

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