Anyone who has known me for any length of time knows that I am often at odds with virtually everything “they” say. Ah the ubiquitous “they.” I am sure you have heard of “they.” “They” are the group of people who, it is inferred, know everything, can do everything and, invariably, are the conglomeration of humanity that is magically supposed to fix all the ills of the world. In reality, “They” do not seem to get much done.
Well, “They” say, you should never answer a question with a question. In contrast, I say, a question is frequently the best answer to a question. That is, as long as the person who posed the original question wants an honest and accurate answer. This is as compared with people who want the answers to their questions to be platitudes, that really just mean “you’re right and I’m here for you.”
I admit, in my role as a friend and confidant over the decades, I have provided these types of well-meaning sentiments when I felt intuitively, that it was desired or expected of me. I believe that sometimes, especially in times of elevated emotion, friends and family need unconditional love and support, more than accuracy and analysis.
In my financial planning practice however, I have never told a client what I thought they wanted to hear. Rather, I view it as my role to tell the good folks I work with what they need to know. With that in mind, here are several questions I am asked often and the questions that I answer with:
Q: What kind of rate of return can you get me?
A: How much risk and volatility would you like to endure without any guarantee that you will get the return you seek?
Q: What percentage of our current income will we need in retirement?
A: What kind of life do you want to live when you are retired?
Q: Do you think income taxes will be higher in the future?
A: Do you think people will vote for politicians who promise them more or fewer government services in the future?
Q: How can we get a excellent rate of return without a lot of risk?
A: Do you care what things are called or do you care what they will do for you?
Just as no amount of going down the wrong road will lead to the right destination, no amount of answering the wrong questions will provide you the answers you seek.
If you like, work with a financial services professional who has earned your trust to formulate the right questions, work together to answer them and then take action.
Scott R. McGimpsey January 30th, 2020
This material was prepared by Scott McGimpsey and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. All information is believed to be from reliable sources; however, we make no representation as to its completeness or accuracy. Neither Cetera Advisor Networks LLC nor Scott McGimpsey is engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or other professionally services. If such assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any federal, state, or municipal tax penalty. Moreover, a diversified portfolio does not assure a profit or assure protection against loss in a declining market. UNIFIED PLANNING GROUP is an independent firm. Securities offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Summit Financial Group, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. Summit and Cetera are affiliated and under separate ownership from any other named entity.