Living Financially Aware Shifting Focus

LFA's New Focus

I have decided to shift the focus of the Living Financially Aware blog, at least temporarily. While I will continue to occasionally write about how to increase your financial awareness around your finances, many posts will now be concerned with the deception being perpetrated upon the American people by much of the financial services industry I wrote about Friday. I will continue to write about what I know personally and I am also going to scour resources looking for examples of this deception occurring. As I wrote last Friday, many large financial services firms do not work for you, are fighting against putting your interests first and should be exposed. I am not the first to voice this, but hope adding my voice will further the impact we are having to bring Americans closer to a time when they can feel comfortable with the financial advice they receive.

In this effort, I will focus on four topics:

1) Providing examples of firms putting their interests ahead of clients, despite putting on a public appearance of trust

2) Keeping you abreast of news and legislation that may impact the financial advice you can expect to receive

3) Offering tools to help you better recognize when a firm is working for you or against you

4) Offering examples of firms that have been successful and put clients' interest first.

I think it is important to inform you that there are many people who work for deceptive firms that do a very good job for clients. These people fight through the systems put in place to benefit the company at the detriment of the client. Your financial advisor may be one of these people. It is not my goal to convince you not to work with this individual, but I do think it is important you are aware of the conflicts they must deal with when providing advice. I can also tell you that picking a firm which does have a commitment to putting your interest first does not provide a guarantee that you will always receive the best financial advice. Working with this type of firm does, however, increase the chance of receiving good advice exponentially.

I may sound like a broken record at times. This is in many ways intentional. I am frankly angry. I have watched as the American consumer has been tricked, confused and deceived to believe that all financial advisors are providing the same type of service and always sit on the same side of the table as clients. This is simply not true.

Getting good financial planning advice can positively impact your life in dramatic ways. Getting conflicted and bad advice often does more harm than no advice at all. It is time you knew what type of advice you are receiving.

A Bit of Relevant News

Today the Senate may bring a financial reform bill, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010, to the table for debate. Currently, partisanship seems to be stalling forward progress of any action on reforming the way the financial services industry operates. While the bill does not directly impact the type of financial advice you receive in its current form, it remains relevant to this discussion. Both parties recognize the need for reform in some manner, but as of now appear quite a distance from reaching agreement on a bill. Whatever the form of the final bill, this may be the first step to improving the advice you receive. There will be more to come as this issue proceeds.

Linked below is a good article in this morning's Washington Post on this issue:


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