Greed and Fear and Freedom: A Guide For Selecting A Financial Professional

I believe there is a very simple, if occasionally imperfect, tool for you to determine whether a financial planner, financial advisor, investment advisor or stock broker is working for you or not. While there are certainly exceptions to this rule, it should offer you a quick guide to decide whether to continue a relationship with a financial professional. You need to do no more than determine whether you are being sold greed, fear or freedom. The answer to that can dramatically help you understand what type of individual you are working with.

Greed is sold by Wall Street, by financial professionals who want to exploit your desire to become wealthy quickly and to have more and more money. They are selling you false hope that they can help you pick that one investment which can make you rich overnight, the investment that will change your life with little work on your part. They are playing on the greed that lives within many of us. They are selling a falsehood, one designed to increase their wealth with little regard for your own. If you are being sold greed, beware the seller and the product.

Fear is sold by insurance companies. They prey on the fear that you will run out of money before you die, on the fear that you will die and leave your family destitute, on the fear that you will lose all your wealth by investing directly in stocks and bonds.  Their marketing materials and sales presentations are designed to build your fears and anxieties and to convince you to act on those fears by purchasing products. The fears they play are often steeped in truth, but the products recommended often come at costs far too high to be worth the protection offered. Your fear is used to increase their wealth. If you are being sold fear, beware the seller and the product.

Freedom is sold by financial planners who truly work in your best interest. They sell a service designed to provide you the freedom to do with your finances what you most value. They offer to help you recognize your freedom to live the life you truly want to lead. If they dabble in greed, it is likely to help you recognize where your greed may be inhibiting your freedom. If they touch on fear, it may be to help you choose strategies to minimize those fears to allow you to regain your freedom. They do not use greed and fear as a sales tool. If you are being sold freedom, rejoice that you have likely met someone who is working for you.

What are you being sold: greed, fear or freedom? Greed and fear are used to get you to make ill-advised, emotional decisions. Freedom is the most difficult “sale” to make requiring a much higher cognitive analysis, but the impact of working with someone offering you freedom can be dramatically positive.


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