Dictionary.com's fiduciary definition: a person to whom property or power is entrusted for the benefit of another.
There are two types of financial advisors out there, fiduciaries and non-fiduciaries.
Fiduciaries are required to keep the best interest of their clients first, to eliminate conflicts of interest, to clearly disclose fees, and to accept level compensation across all investment products so they remain unbiased in their advice. When there is a conflict of interest, it is required to be disclosed before any transactions take place.
Non-fiduciary financial advisors don’t have to do any of that.
Why would an advisor choose not to be a fiduciary? That’s a great question.
A Comprehensive Approach
It is impossible to make a financial decision without taking into account the entire picture of an individual's finances. Like a physician, we need to know your entire story to provide you with a personalized plan based on your individual needs and goals. One reason a doctor asks many questions about your history is because it influences their recommendations. Current medications impact new medications they may want to prescribe and family history may impact screening tests they recommend.
The same holds true in personal finance. Every decision must be made in the context of the bigger picture. For example, investment decisions can
impact your taxes and your estate planning strategy can impact your insurance strategy. In other words, the decisions made in one area of your finances can have consequences in other areas.
All aspects of your finances must be coordinated together so the plan is consistent with your goals. Just like in medicine, sometimes it takes a whole team of people from different specialties to put a plan in action. We specialize in managing investments for our clients based on their lifelong goals, but we also work with attorneys, tax advisors and insurance agents if something falls outside of our specialty to coordinate all aspects of a person's financial plan.