Tim (not his real name), our financial advisor, has safely navigated my wife and me through the financial storms of the past 20 years. His knowledge of investment strategies, financial products, and markets; his sage advice; and most importantly his impeccable personal integrity have kept our heads above water in unexpected conditions, including the unimaginable.
Dealing with the Unexpected
The least of the painful of the many consequences I suffered from 9/11 was that it abruptly cut my professional career short. By the time I recovered and returned to work, someone else was doing my job and my expectations of earnings and retirement savings for the rest of my working days were halved.
That the momentum of my career stopped short that day was a small price to pay; I was very lucky to be among the thankful, grieving survivors. I have no complaint; no one alive is to blame. I mention this only to point out that no personal financial strategy could ever have anticipated what America’s enemies did that day. Thanks in large part to Tim’s financial advice before and after the disaster, my wife and I enjoy a modest but comfortable retirement.
But today there’s a new unexpected threat on our horizon.
A few months ago I reached the age of Medicare. Over more than 30 years I made the mandatory payments into the system in return for the promise that if/when I survived to age 65, I would have good government health insurance. That coverage was pre-paid out of every paycheck I earned. Now House Speaker Paul Ryan & Co. plan to further sabotage my retirement by weakening Medicare’s role in the rest of my days.
I can deal with the fact I was among those targeted and victimized by America’s enemies, but it is a completly different feeling to know that the U.S. Congress is now aiming to victimize me.
Perhaps we need to do more “extreme vetting” before going to the polls. As Trump writes broad sweeping Executive Orders aimed at weeding out dangerous insurgents, we voters should to do what we can to weed out danergous incumbents.
Whose Interest Do Financial Consultants Serve?
The latest example of the Repugnican (not a spelling error) Party’s service to America is hilarious if you think about it.
The new Administration, with the support of the pachyderms in both chambers of Congress, has decided to delay and reconsider the pending Department of Labor rule that (now get this) a financial advisor you pay to help you with retirement planning and/or money management is required to work in your best interest, avoid conflicts of interest and be transparent about all his/her compensation and fees.
Put another way, Repugnicans (e.g. spoiled Republicans) want to continue to let crooked financial advisors steal their clients’money with impunity. First off, were you aware that advisors are not required to serve their customers’ best interests? Isn’t such a requirement a bona-fide “no brainer?” The President’s position on this is that you have no right to expect what you should have every right to expect – an advisor who is on your side.
Despite the absence of any regulation, most Financial Consultants are good and honest professionals who serve their client’s interests as a matter of personal principles and professional ethics. But are there any evil financial advisors who prey upon unwitting customers to line their own pockets at their clients’ expense? Absolutely. Can they do this with impunity? Apparently.
OK. Here comes the hilarity.
By what dizzying spin of logic do those who hold that Financial Advisors should not be held accountable to their clients justify this position? The Financial Industry and Repugnican law makers contend that making financial advisors serve their clients’ interests will only serve to LIMIT THE RANGE OF OPPORTUNITIES IN THE MARKETPLACE.
Huh? What was that? Are they really worried that the unsuspecting public should have the right to the opportunity to be bilked? C’mon man!
That’s like saying:
- the makers of Kool-Aid (Kraft, by the way) should be allowed to broaden the soft drink market with a new Cyanide flavor (made with real cyanide). Please excuse me if I decline this opportunity.
- Goldman Sachs should be allowed to bundle up a bunch of toxic mortgages, wrap them in pretty paper, stamp them Grade A Certified, and sell these ticking time bombs to unwitting investors, igniting financial ruin for all ….. Oh, wait a minute. They did do that.
Beware of those Advisors and financial instituutions who oppose the serve client’s best interests mandate. They’re the ones most likely to pick you pockets. The evil ones.
It is a sad day, however, when integrity needs to be made mandatory. A sad day.