Q: What can you say to the investors out there or the younger employees out there who aren't sure exactly how to manage their funds; who aren't sure how to go about planning for retirement or choosing a financial advisor, and the uncertainty they may feel around all the unknowns, all the information that's available, but they don't understand, and the relationship between an advisor and the client?
A: Are you including there that there's kind of a fear they have they don't know who trust? There's so much out there and so many different ways of doing it, so many different people saying it, they don't know who trust?
You know the thing that I keep thinking about, what is it that makes a good advisor for me? I need advisors too. I am an adviser to other people. But I need advisors and so what I'm looking for is for someone to help me become more competent, help me to understand the information. We live in an age- everyone knows we live in an age where information is just abundant. You can have as much information as you possibly need. Everyone in every industry is told that they have to make sure that you understand, you know what's going on, so they hand you a 200-page prospective in the financial industry and tell you to read it. It’s something that is hard to digest, hard to comprehend, and so even though you have it in your possession, you have the information, you really can't use it. I think part of your question is, there's so much of this information out there we really can't use it. How do we begin to use it, and should we expect to begin to use it?
A lot of things that are in your life as an employee are do-it-yourself. For instance when you pick your benefits a lot of people are left to themselves to figure out which insurance health insurance plan; which how much life insurance and which part of the life insurance plan should they use? Should they use the flexible spending account should they use the health care is flexible spending account? Are they eligible to use the dependent care flexible spending account? Should they get long-term care? Should their parents get long-term care? All these things being thrown at them, it's like, “you should, you should, you should!” and it's like my gosh if I did everything that everyone told me, I wouldn't have any money! I wouldn't have any time!
Same thing with investments, you know you got your 401K or TSP- for the federal employee, you have the TSP program that's very simple, really, but there's just so much information on their website and there's so many different places you can click that it's hard to know exactly where to go and what to do in order to get the answer you need today as opposed to what you might need next week, or what you did need last month.
It's like I just don't know what to do, so our job is to help you figure out what part of the information, how much of this information do you really need to know today, right now, for the decisions you're facing right now and to explain that to in such a way, educate you in such a way that you know exactly what you're doing and why so that you have confidence in any decision that you make. That's what we're trying to do. Otherwise if we don't do that then we got trapped right? We've got you in a dark room and then you have to stay there, and you'll always be wondering should you be doing something different? When things start to go down in the market, you're wondering, “Should I be somewhere else? Am I really in the right place?” And when things go up in the market, you might be wondering, “Am I still in the right place? Am I getting what everyone else is getting?” It just keeps you in constant doubt, constant worry, constant concern, raises your anxiety all the time. So a lot of people just say, “You know what, I'm not going to think about this anymore because I'm tired of feeling the way I feel.”
"...being able to reach that point where you know exactly what you're doing and why opens up a land of abundance to you."
I believe that what you're looking for is education and application of the information that's out there. How can we help you do that? We want you to get to a point where you're saying, “I know exactly what I'm doing and why.” Being able to do that, being able to reach that point where you know exactly what you're doing and why opens up a land of abundance to you. You are able to get and go to different places and use different things, and it feels like freedom instead of feeling like confusion. I believe that's what we're trying to do is get you to the land of freedom, where you know exactly what you're doing.