Yesterday we had an appointment with our financial adviser. It is always reassuring to me to know that there is a plan in place, especially when we are talking about something as important as our financial future.

We’ve talked to other financial folks in the past, but so far none have inspired the confidence the way the lady we are currently working with has.

The whole thing yesterday got me thinking about what kinds of people we look to for advice. What advice are we willing to listen to and what advice do we discard?

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Wise men don’t need advice. Fools won’t take it.”

Well I’m not at either extreme. I am not foolish enough to discard advice and I’m not yet wise enough not to need any!

No, I subscribe to the proverb that says, “Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.”

But how do you determine which advice is good and which adviser is spewing rubbish?

In his book, Permission Marketing, marketing guru Seth Godin has something to say on the subject.

Were does trust come from?

This is what every marketer wants to know. Without trust, marketers know that there are no sales. Trust means the prospect believes not only that the product being sold will actually solve his problems, but that if for some reason it doesn’t, the company will make good on its reputation of performance.

We happily pay a premium to buy our jewelry from a fancy store instead of from a shady character on the street. Why? Because we trust the store to sell us the real deal, while the guy with the watches in a briefcase represents substantial risks.

Corporations pay consultants billions of dollars for their advice, when they could probably find similar advice down the street at the local community college. Why the premium? Because Bain and McKinsey and the like are trusted advisers. They’ve built enough of a track record, and enough confidence, that they can command substantial premium.

That makes sense. Longevity and a proven track record are definitely points in an adviser’s favor.

Perhaps that is one of the reasons I am willing to listen to our current financial adviser. She’s got a track record 25 years long working with clients that have much larger portfolios than we have.

I snicker when I think of using the term portfolio to describe our current financial situation. It is really more like a folder at the moment than a portfolio. And a thin folder at that!

But that’s the point of looking to the advice of a financial adviser in the first place. We are not content to continue on indefinitely with the current non-plan plan. We want to build to something beyond just one thin folder at some point.

I think we’ve found a good one. But the question remains. How do you find your trusted advisers?


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