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financial advisor Archives - Sharkey, Howes & Javer

Julie Fletcher Featured in Denver Post: Why Americans are scared of financial advisors

By | Julie Fletcher, SH&J Blog, SH&J Team | No Comments

Julie Fletcher, CFP® at Sharkey, Howes & Javer wrote an article that was featured in the Denver Post this week. Below is a small excerpt from her piece as well as a link to read the full article.


Why Americans are scared of financial advisors
We can blame the movies, and our “money taboo” society

Since the 1980’s, Hollywood has made millions of dollars creating a slew of movies depicting the greed and crime of the financial services industry. Which is your favorite? “Wall Street,” the “greed is good” movie from 1987? “Boiler Room,” “The Wolf of Wall Street” or “The Big Short”? Based on the media’s portrayal of “financial professionals,” it is no wonder that Americans are scared to death to trust anyone with their hard-earned money. Based on these movies, I would guess that a person who has never met with a financial advisor likely envisions it would go something like this:

As a frightened receptionist walks me through their chaotic cubicle hell, red-faced frenzied suits scream “SELL, SELL NOW!!” into their phones. When we finally reach the conference room, the theme song from “Jaws” runs through my mind as a cigar smoking man wearing a red bow tie slowly turns in his chair to face me. He puffs out smoke as his smile creeps into a wide Cheshire cat grin. “Welcome. Please have a seat. Did you bring all your account statements?” As I cautiously hand my private and personal information to a complete stranger, his grin turns into a frown. “Did you not read our website? I hardly think $150,000 meets our $50 million minimums.”

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Why are you fee-only and what does that mean?

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Why are you fee-only and what does that mean?

We are often asked about our decision to be a fee-only financial planning firm. The term ‘fee’ occasionally throws people off, and we thought we should share about our decision and how it benefits our clients.

When we started the firm in 1990, we made the decision that we didn’t want to be bound to commissions. We wanted the freedom to make decisions based on the unique needs and goals of our clients. In short, we decided to be fee-only before fee-only was cool.

At the most basic level, fee-only simply means we are compensated solely by our clients, not by commission. As fee-only planners, we don’t earn commission from sales and we do not sell our clients products. Instead, we are required to act in the best interest of our clients — an important distinction.

At SH&J, we are paid by a percentage of the money under our management, and a flat fee for financial planning. In essence, our clients pay for our advice and our responsible investment management.

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3 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Advisor

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Sharkey, Howes & Javer: 3 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Advisor

Finances are intimately woven into our lives. Choosing a financial advisor to guide you in your financial decisions can be a stressful process, but an important one. Having the right financial advisor on your team gives you peace of mind and can put you on a good financial path.

Whether you are looking for a financial advisor for the first time or you are looking for a new advisor, here are some key questions to ask:

1. How are you compensated?

Starting with this question is key to understanding the type of financial advisor you are working with. They should be able to answer the question quickly and with specifics. Are they receiving kickbacks for recommending certain investments? Do they have sales quotas to meet? Are they paid by salary or commission? Are they recommending the same investments to all of their clients? Why or why not? A planner who is paid by commission or sales versus a salary or hourly rate could have an incentive to steer you in a specific direction.

Ask for information about all of their fees and how much you will be paying per transaction, product and service. Also, ask about any additional fees you can expect from other services they offer. If the advisor is unwilling to answer or vague in their responses, consider looking elsewhere for a financial advisor.

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