Let’s Collaborate: An Open Letter from a Financial Advisor

We need less acrimony and more collaboration between financial bloggers and financial advisors. We both have the same goal: helping people win with money. Our cause is not to destroy each other, but to destroy financial ignorance. We all want to promote financial literacy. Tens of millions of people are desperate for our help!

We Share the Same Goals

I’ve been on both sides and I promise this is true: We really do share the same goal. Most advisors care deeply about their clients’ welfare. There are bad apples, yes. But they’re in the minority.

First, I was a committed personal finance junkie, educated with books and blogs. I helped my friends to cancel their whole life and buy term, to invest in index funds, to get out of debt, and to budget. Then, I went over to the other side and became a financial advisor.

As a financial advisor, I worked with families, face-to-face, around the kitchen table. I listened. Clients talked and dreamed. We even cried together a few times. I had to learn new ideas because clients needed answers beyond what I had learned only from the personal finance material.

I kept studying. And I learned that there was a whole world of finance beyond what I had ever known. I wanted to share it with the bloggers who had been so helpful to me.

But, I couldn’t talk to the world. Remember, people with “Financial Advisor” on their business card have a very difficult time speaking in public because of the industry rules. It was really frustrating. So, I left that world and came back to this world, the world of financial media. And now, I’ve been on both sides.

I Have a Dream

I have a dream that someday a financial blogger will recommend his personal financial advisor to his readers. (We all need a personal financial advisor.) And someday a financial advisor will forward his favorite PF blogger’s latest articles to all his clients without fearing that they read the rest of the site.

My dream is that we can work together. We need each other. We need the media to expose advisors who do not live up to their fiduciary duty, to expose fraud and misconduct. We need to educate the public how to analyze financial products and plans properly.And, we need advisors—knowledgeable, capable, caring, competent, trustworthy advisors. Advisors who carry out their fiduciary duty to care for their clients’ financial future.

We work well together because an educated, financially literate customer is an advisor’s best client.

We Have Our Work Cut Out for Us

But, if we work together, we can arm people with the critical knowledge and understanding that they need to choose what is best for them in their own unique circumstances.

Let’s rise above the acrimony and vitriol and pursue our common goal together.

FinCon is a great place to begin.Together, we can raise the financial literacy of our country and ensure the financial success of our fellow men. We’re a perfect fit for each other.

Joshua J. Sheats, CFP®, CLU®, ChFC®, CASL®, CAP®, RHU®, REBC® is a finance junkie, a former financial advisor, and now host of the Radical Personal Finance Podcast, a daily, in-depth discussion of what actually works in financial planning.


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