The financial industry is broad and deep with respect to the approaches, tools, products and techniques that are available. Some are well tested and known while others are brand squeaky new. It is almost impossible for an advisor to be familiar with and use all of these various items and so it becomes important for you as an investor to understand what your advisor does.
We all know the saying about how to a hammer everything appears to be a nail. In the context of your finances, it is probably a good idea to avoid an advisor who always gives the same advice and recommendations for every client. While consistency in the process is important you would be better served by an advisor who actually tailors the advice to your particular situation and needs. An advisor with no more than just a hammer – such as one who always recommends life insurance and/or annuities for every client – is to be avoided so you don’t miss other useful tools.
At the other end of the spectrum, we find the advisor with a plethora of tools and techniques and every financial gadget known to man. Here, too, we need to be wary since this advisor may not be experienced with the use of many of these tools and may not employ them to your full advantage. It usually is not good to be the first client an advisor has experimented with using a “cutting edge” approach or product.
The sweet spot is often the advisor who has a range of tools and techniques and products and understands how and when they should be applied to a particular client’s situation. This requires that the advisor not only has experience with what is recommended for you but also knows how it applies to your situation. Understanding what is in an advisor’s toolkit will help you to know whether that advisor is one you should consider working with on your plan.