Anyone with the Internet has probably heard of urbandictionary.com, the crowdsourced, online dictionary for slang words and phrases that contains plenty of “NSFW” content. (To spare you the trouble/consequence of going there, NSFW means “Not Suitable For Work.”) Have you ever wanted something like an Urban Dictionary education to help you better understand the terms your financial planner/advisor throws around?
If so, you are in luck, as the following is a list of commonly used terms with some slightly tongue-in-cheek layman’s definitions for your education and enjoyment:
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Make sure you read the methodology and any disclosures before getting too excited about a “No. 1 advisor.”
All joking aside, choosing an advisor you trust to guide your financial plan is a very serious matter. While an Urban Dictionary education would be nice, it’s not really enough. The wrong person could be underqualified, a poor listener, or captive to a perverse commission structure. Some advisors are even engaged in fraudulent activity. Where do you turn for help to make a good decision?
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First and foremost, know yourself. Are you impulsive? Easily led? Ignorant of financial matters? In crisis? Emotionally needy?
All the above can get you into trouble financially. It may be best to start your search within your own support network to find someone you can trust. Lacking that, do some online research. The CFP Board and CFA Institute both publish some excellent materials on how to select a planner or advisor.
Start your search within your own support network to find someone you can trust
From there, my basic advice would be to organize your financial details to the extent possible, ask competent professionals for a referral (e.g., your attorney or CPA can be useful because they risk their own reputations in making the referral), and shop around.
Here is some additional, practical advice:
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And finally, ask your planner if he or she is a fiduciary. There are so many professionals in our line of work, there is no reason to settle for less. Interestingly enough, your Urban Dictionary education would begin with their own motto: “Define Your World.” I hope this list of definitions goes a long way in helping you “Define Your (Financial) World”.
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Peter Eickelberg currently serves as a Managing Director and Chief Compliance Officer of Alpha Fiduciary, a $500 million+ investment advisor based in Phoenix, AZ. Prior to this position, he led the investment department for a large cross-border wealth management firm that specialized in Canadian migrants, and before that he was a broker with a highly-ranked…
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