What we do at GuidedChoice

What does a financial advisor do all day?

If you answered something like “monitor investments, trade stocks, and try to maximize returns,” you’d be… well, wrong. Let’s explain.

Just like a traditional human advisor (imagine a guy in a nice suit), we provide advice about how to meet your financial needs, not just what to do with your money. It starts with understanding where you want to go. This usually means a comfortable retirement, with enough money to keep up much of your current income. We’ll help with that.

The next step is figuring out how you’ll get there: What you’ve already got, how much you’ll save over time, and what other considerations you see in your financial picture – both pluses and minuses. We’ll help with that, too, using sophisticated modeling tools to deal with the uncertainties of the future.

Only after those are sorted out to your satisfaction do we put on our investment hats. You might be disappointed to know there’s not much mystery here. Forget about becoming the next Wizard of Wall Street. The smart money (yours) is in passive investing, using low-cost index funds that follow the markets instead of trying to beat it.

But what kind of funds? Again, the collective wisdom of the financial gurus is kind of boring: diversification across a wide range of asset classes (big stocks, little stocks, international stocks, bonds and so on), tweaking the numbers to match your specific needs. Like virtually all professionals we use something called Modern Portfolio Theory to get the details right. Unlike others, one of our founders invented it – but that’s another story.

Even the best plans tend to go sideways eventually. So the key to long-term success is rebalancing your mix of assets over time to bring them back in line. As a bonus, doing this on a regular schedule means you’ll automatically “buy low and sell high,” just like the pros. Easy, right?

What’s not easy is all the other things we do as your financial advisor. Making sense of when and how to start taking Social Security benefits. Making the most of your tax situation. And then, the big one: turning everything you’ve saved into a steady, secure income, so you can enjoy your retirement without worrying that you’ll run out. Even professional advisors have a hard time with this last one. So much so that we had to invent our own mathematical theory to optimize your future income.

So if you’re comparing your options for help with your finances, double-check to see if you’re looking at an investment advisor, or a true financial advisor. It’s the difference between taking care of your money, and taking care of your future.