With Or Without You

A colleague who wants to work with more retirees asked me how I would handle a question he recently got from a hard-charging, do-it-yourselfer.

“How do I know I’ll do better with you than I am doing on my own?” asked the prospect.

Recently, a few new studies have quantified the benefits of working with a financial planner. According to the paper Alpha, Beta, and Now … Gamma by David Blanchett and Paul Kaplan of Morningstar, an additional 29% of retirement income, the equivalent of an additional 1.82% a year in return, may be realized by using some specific planning strategies, like employing a dynamic withdrawal methodology or a tax-efficient asset location. In the February issue of the Journal of Financial Planning, brain wave research showed that people are less freaked out in stressful market conditions when working with a CFP licensee.

And many studies over the years have shown that do-it-yourselfers get inferior investment results in the aggregate. I welcome the studies, but for this case, I don’t think they address the issue.

Imagine this: A couple named Archie and Edith are meeting with me to see if they want to hire our firm. Archie runs the money in this household. He knows the markets. First thing in the morning, he takes a peek at the futures on CNBC. In the evening, he watches some cable news. It is important to him that he is informed. He has always handled the investments for his family, and since he has retired, that role has taken on more significance; if something gets fouled up, he isn’t going to be able to re-enter the workforce to make up for it.

via With Or Without You.

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