I saw the world heal, burn and go backward in time.
There is progress all around us, but at the same time, challenges persist that we’ve been discussing for decades, both in the advisory business and in the broader world.
I’ve been trying to get back to traveling, but Covid-19 breakthrough and delta variant cases haven’t made this an easy journey. But last month, I got to spend time with some of my amazing team members, coaches and partners at a joint event between Carson and FIG called Elevate University.
There, we coached more than 60 financial service professionals and discussed the challenges of the profession today. It is truly energizing for me to be around advisers who are committed to their craft and striving to make improvements for their clients and create a better client experience and planning offering. This is the work that keeps me going, that gets me up each day energized to make an impact.
But the scope of the impact extends beyond that.
During the event, I was asked two really enlightening questions that made me reflect deeply. First, Michael H. Baker of Vertex Capital Advisers asked me an incredibly insightful question about the proliferation of “free, somewhat financial advice” on mediums like TikTok and Twitter, where non-advisers provide more of a do-it-yourself route — and whether this was filling in any of the shortfall we have as client-facing advisers.
We’ve seen a huge decline in the number of client-facing advisers over the past decade, a trend I expect to continue with so many advisers set to retire in the next few years. As a profession, we will need to serve more clients in a deeper and more personalized manner with fewer advisers. This will be done in part through better systems, better-educated advisers and better technology. Without a great client experience, AI-powered back-end solutions and personalized scale, our industry won’t be able to serve those who need help on their way to financial freedom.
Now, back to the question. I don’t think free education on social media will negatively impact the number of people looking for financial advisers. In fact, I think education can empower people to seek out advice more often — but it does raise a question as to whether the information being shared out there is positive for the financial advisory industry.
A quick tour through TikTok will show you how inaccurate many of the postings are related to investing, taxes and planning.
Good education and information will raise people up and empower them, but the proliferation of misinformation isn’t just impacting politics — it’s now widespread in the consumer financial arena, and the impact might not be known for years. And if you think the inaccurate information being shared on places like TikTok isn’t important, know that TikTok was rated one of the most popular sources for financial advice in 2020.
Asset-Map ran a virtual event last month at which I had the honor of moderating a panel with three people whom I call my friends and who also inspire me — Tyrone Ross of Onramp Invest, Sonya Driezler of Solutions with Sonya, and Dr. Preston Cherry of the Austin E. Cofrin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay. Our conversation centered around advice accessibility and the limitations and hurdles keeping our profession from truly getting advice without agenda to those who need it.
The conversation touched on racism, the limits of technology, the importance of education and pro bono work. We also addressed how being an advocate in the public eye is important and how we need to both educate and empower people to know they are worthy of financial advice, access and freedom.
This leads to the second question that made me reflect deeply. Christian Nwasike, a coach, business owner and friend of mine, asked me what keeps me up at night — a profound question for anyone.
He said my answer shocked him. I said I don’t worry about my job or this profession — thinking about fee compression, competitors in the RIA market, robo-advisers or regulations doesn’t keep me up at night. What does keep me up is thinking of the millions of people who go to bed hungry, the suffering in Afghanistan right now (I still can’t sleep thinking of the people falling from the plane — an image seared into my mind) and the people who don’t have access to basics like clean water.
Success in our profession is great, but if I can’t impact other lives and raise up those who have nothing even close to the basics humans deserve, I will feel as if I have failed. This is what keeps me up at night — the inhumane conditions that continue to exist in the world today.
I will close this rambling of recent lessons with a comment made by Dr. Julie Ragatz of the American College: “We serve a noble profession.” That lifted my heart, because I know and believe we can fundamentally change people’s lives for the better through financial advice. I want every American to know they deserve financial freedom.
As we scale this advice accessibility, it will allow those in our profession to expand our impact to those who are truly suffering — those who go to bed hungry, thirsty and fearing for their lives.
That’s what keeps me up and helps fuel me.
The post The impact versus the job: Lessons on making a noble profession appeared first on InvestmentNews.
Andrew is half-human, half-gamer. He’s also a science fiction author writing for BleeBot.