Q: Talking about finances can give some people a lot of anxiety because it's a highly personal and sometimes deeply revealing process, so what do you look for what can you look for as a customer too when you're going to a financial advisor to make sure that you're making the right decisions?
A: How do you know someone has your own best interests at heart? So you know that's-- I think the number one trait of a fiduciary, someone who is supposed to have your best interests at heart, the word would be empathy. That's the most important trait that a professional can have for you, is provide you with empathy. In other words, they are finding out how you feel and they’re feeling it. That they’re knowing how you see it, and they’re seeing it. They’re hearing how you hear it and they can hear it too.
In other words, all these things are like they’re identifying where you are identifying, how you feel not to the point of just knowing about you but now they're part of it with you. I think that's really the most important trait you can expect from an advisor. Empathy, can they experience it with you?
You know, I think it's really hard for us to be able to share an experience to the point where someone can really identify with it. So it's not just up to the person explaining it to be able to share it, but it's also the receiver, the person who's listening, they've got to share it with you to the point where they are seeking to experience it with you. It's not just up to you, its’ up to them.
"I think the number one trait of a fiduciary, someone who is supposed to have your best interests at heart, the word would be empathy."
I think that that's what an advisor does. They're going to probe; they're going to dig; they're going to talk; they're going to ask; it may feel a little bit vulnerable, maybe a lot vulnerable because it is kind of a process that asks you to reveal things you're not used to reveal, but in the process of that if you realize they’re connecting with you in an appropriate way where they are really experiencing what you’ve experienced so that they understand why it's important and they understand what is important and then they can also help you strategize with how you can forward and feel good about doing so, because they're really becoming more and more aware of what it is you're experiencing.
And I think that is the trait looking for: empathy.