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What to Look for in a Financial Advisor

University of Hawaii
Publication Date
  • Personal Finance
  • Medicine
  • Religious Science


FC-11 Published by the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR) and issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Charles W. Laughlin, Director and Dean, Cooperative Extension Service, CTAHR, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii 96822. An Equal Opportunity / Affirmative Action Institution providing programs and services to the people of Hawaii without regard to race, sex, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, disability, marital status, arrest and court record, sexual orientation, or veteran status. Cooperative Extension Service Financial Connections April 1998 FC-11 When it comes to financial advice, many people are harmed as much by their own naiveté as by the misdeeds of others. Some are only too willing to turn the care of their hard-earned dollars blindly over to some- one else—frequently with disastrous re- sults. The welfare of one’s money, just like that of one’s children, is too important to be left at anyone else’s doorstep. Consumer logic required While the financial services professions have their share of wolves in sheep’s clothing, it is not the wolves who defy logic; their logic may be self-serving, but it is not complicated. Your money is a source of their reward, and what is best for them may not be best for you. In playing upon your fears and reluc- tance to manage your own money, some advisors have even likened their services to brain surgery. In the case of those who have studied long and hard for their credentials, this may not be totally absurd; but it is a bit unnerving when you real- ize your would-be brain surgeon was just selling underwear at a local department store. Furthermore, knowledge of fi- nance, like the knowledge of painting, does not certify one’s competence in its execution. Three essential guideposts Does this mean you should not seek or use financial advi- sors? Not at all, but one must be aware of the ever-

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