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Posted on January 23, 2018

5 Reasons Financial Advisors Are Like Fishing Guides

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Published by Scott Danek, Equanimity Wealth Management, Founder & GFN (Genuine Fishing Nut)

Not everyone fishes, but everyone needs and strives for financial security. Here are five ways your trusted financial advisor should be like a great fishing guide.

  1. You feel like you don’t need them when it is ‘easy’

Spring smallmouth bass. Windy summer pike.  June Michigan largemouth.  All fish have a time of the year or certain conditions when they are easy to catch, and markets at times experience gains that are very strong, long and seemingly uninterrupted.  It is human nature at these times to question why you need a ‘guide’.  When conditions change, and just as in the weather they do in investing as well, then what happens?  They don’t call them ‘dog days’ in fishing or ‘bear markets’ in investing for nothing.

  1. Experience matters

I use a fishing guide who has over 1,000 waypoints, or ‘honey holes’, saved for Lake St. Clair. He is on the water nearly every day for almost six straight months.  I’m lucky to get there by myself more than a few times a year.  He is talking to other guides about what is and is not working for their clients, and has been guiding for over 20 years on that lake.  No wonder we have never been ‘skunked’ (no fish) in over 15 years of using him.  He’s not going to hit home runs every time but he’ll hit a lot of singles and doubles and that leads to success over the course of a day, just as steady progress toward your financial goals is a recipe for success.

  1. Proper equipment/tools make your experience so much more enjoyable

Imagine catching fish on a rope tied to a broom stick. Or, imagine filleting a fish with a butter knife.  A great guide will always have all the proper equipment and tackle which will make your time on the water all the more enjoyable, and usually more successful too.  Secure, consolidated, ‘two clicks away’ complete account and portfolio information, holdings, performance, emails regarding activity within your accounts, planning software that allows you to in real-time project different outcomes based on changes in retirement age and have a holistic view of your entire net worth, liabilities, and more make our clients’ experience that much more informed and enjoyable.

  1. They keep their eyes open for things that can ‘kill’ you

Did you know in the right conditions an approaching storm can produce enough static electricity to make your fishing rod hum and buzz? Ever seen the Great Lakes so roiled they look like the Atlantic?  Ever hit a wake you never saw so hard it almost throws you from the boat?  These are similar to changing economic signals, or extreme volatility in the markets, or inflation which some call ‘the silent killer’.  An experienced financial advisor can help you navigate these and many other conditions that can conspire to throw you off your course to financial security.

  1. There is a ton that gets done before you ‘get on the water’ that adds to the odds of success

Spooling fresh line. Sharpening hooks.  Gassing up the boat.  Having the proper number of life vests.  A great guide does many things you’ll never see, or notice, to make sure your day on the water is as successful and enjoyable as possible.  They can’t control the weather or the mood of the fish, but every other ‘controllable’ will be checked and done.  Markets, economies, and tax policy are just a few of the things financial advisors can’t control, but regularly monitoring the risk you are taking in your portfolio, positioning your accounts to offer maximum flexibility to best distribute money when needs arise, and having a funded succession plan in case we can’t see you personally through your entire plan are all ways, among many others, that we help clients that may not ‘show up’ on a quarterly statement or performance report.

So, next time you wet a line, or pass a lake, river, or stream, think of these and the many other ways as your trusted financial advisors we strive to be like a great fishing guide, even if you’d never thought of it that way.

Whether you have a financial advisor or are just getting started with investing, the first step to identifying the right guide for you starts with knowing your tolerance for risk. Take this quick quiz and get a peek into your financial dashboard.

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