One of my favorite stories has always been that of Chicken Little. When an acorn falls on the little chick’s head, he immediately jumps to the worst possible conclusion and begins operating under the assumption—and convincing others—that the sky is falling. Why do I identify so much with Chicken Little’s tale? Because I see this a lot in the financial planning industry.
Financial planners and the industry in general can be a pretty dog-eat-dog (not to mix my metaphors) world. Planners tend to view any shift in the economy, political arena, or world events as negative, and often convince their clients they need to make changes to be proactive. In a big firm, this can have a collective negative effect, especially if this doomsday mindset is coming from the very top.
The truth is, we are entering a time of unprecedented growth and opportunity. In fact, there has never been a better time to be involved in the financial planning industry. Why? I’ll give you three reasons:
· Unemployment is way down. The U.S. unemployment is hovering around 4.4%, which is down from 9.9% just seven years ago (after the recent recession was long over). This means that people not only have jobs and money they can put into retirement, but it also means they are spending money, which further stimulates the economy.
· Americans are better off than ever. The average American household has more net worth, higher home values, and higher incomes than ever before in history. In addition, their debt is at an all-time low. This means they can sock more away in retirement accounts, look into more diversified ways of handling that wealth, and really work with their planner on attaining financial goals.
· Corporate earnings and stock prices are surging. When the stock markets are doing well, it’s a pretty good sign that the economy is doing well. Currently, the S&P 500 has risen from $30.44 in 2012 to a record high of $45.03. Though I’m not a big advocate of ‘stock picking’ for clients, this means nothing but good news for portfolios.
I could go on and on, but I think you get the picture. When you turn on the news, it’s likely you’re going to be hit with Trump-bashing, mass shootings, and the ever present debate on whether terrorists or the failing climate will be the first to end life on this planet as we know it. Yeah, it’s grim. What fails to come across is that there is plenty to be happy and optimistic about as well, and nowhere is that more apparent than in the financial industry. One of the things I always like to tell my clients and colleagues is that ‘optimism is the only realism’, and I think that applies especially well in this case.
If you’ve already made the move to an independent financial planning model, you are poised to benefit from the many rays of light currently shining on our industry. If you haven’t, now is the time to make your move! Circumstances have never been more favorable for the smart, behavioral-based financial planner who wishes to start his own business.
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Patrick Tucker, owner of True Measure Wealth Management and founder of True Measure Financial Advisors, has over 20 years experience in the industry and has spent the last 15 years learning the ins and outs of the fee-only advisory business. He's spent over $500,000 finding mentors, studying consulting businesses, taking courses, studying the soft sciences, running trial and error experiments, and learning how to be an entrepreneurial financial advisor. He's simplified this into an easy to use blueprint for anyone who is entrepreneurial-minded and is tired of the sales culture. Patrick has been able to acquire over $140 million under management with little to no money spent on marketing.