I received a call from a prospective client today. She was upset at the major stock brokerage firm that she was using. The caller was in her mid-fifties and clearly had educated herself on many of the aspects of being an investor. She was upset that she and her 7 figure portfolio were shuffled to a new advisor when her old broker left the firm. She was rightly upset that she had no input in choosing who would handle her money.
Further the caller was upset that she wasn’t receiving trade confirmations on a regular basis and wondered what she was actually paying for the services she was receiving.
These are all great questions and ones that should be asked by all investors. The caller had indicated that her portfolio was the result of a “windfall” and that she had been doing a lot of reading to education herself from scratch.
While I applauded her for asking these questions, towards the end of the call I turned the conversation around a bit. She had indicated that her portfolio was her major source of income and that she didn’t know what she was spending on an annual basis. Further she really didn’t understand how her money was invested or why.
I indicated to her that I thought she was focusing on the wrong issues and that she should focus on getting a financial plan in place and getting a handle on her spending and the resources available and needed to support her lifestyle.
Clearly this is not what the caller wanted to hear as she seemed fixated on determining if the brokerage firm was doing what it claimed for her and if they were overcharging her for these services. When I asked, she did not feel that she was the victim of fraud or anything related.
While I can understand how she feels, her fixation on this is in my opinion causing her to focus on the wrong things. What’s the point of focusing on this broker, given that she doesn’t feel valued as a client and that they had indicated to her that they wanted her to move her account?
Investing is about the best use of your dollars from this point forward. I hope that this caller will ultimately “let it go” and hire a real financial advisor and listen to their advice.
Please feel free to contact me with your financial planning questions.