Professional Development

Professional Development Update

I started in the financial industry about 5 years ago. As I have continued to progress in my professional development, I have made a few interesting observations for this update. The first being that there is a huge need for consumer education regarding financial planning and decisions. With that in mind, there is no shortage of financial advice being promoted. The issue I have come to understand is not that we need more financial advice for consumers. It is that consumers do not know how to gauge which advice is aligned with their financial goals and which is not.

A large part of what I have learned at Strategic Planning Group is how to effectively help consumers fully understand their own financial situations. In addition, what strategies will be the most beneficial in achieving their goals. There seems to be an abundance of strategies that do not consider liquidity, low-costs, full control of retirement assets, and income producing returns as crucially important. These strategies generally rely on the promotion of fear and hysteria. These are in regards to market investments in favor of “safe-money” products that claim to do everything that traditional market investment strategies do minus the downside risk. The plurality of cases we encounter are exactly the opposite. We encounter new clients on a weekly basis whose retirement assets are being tied up in illiquid, expensive insurance and annuity products. These products do not even beat inflation and the rising cost of living.


Tip for Consumers

If I were to zoom out and look at the strategies that we implement here at Strategic Planning Group, they are overall quite traditional. We use qualified retirement accounts in the way that they were written and intended to be used. Consumers should have absolute control over their entire retirement estate. This should allow them to have the freedom to adapt and evolve their retirement plan with a changing economic landscape. Yet, insurance companies with an unchanging, fixed, fear-based philosophy should not control your retirement assets.

In conclusion, what I have learned is that the abundance of fear-based marketing and promotion by insurance and annuity companies are clouding the perception of proper retirement planning for everyday consumers. In the long term, this is hurting people and compromising their goals.

Alex Craner, Wealth Management Advisor

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