When I created Intrepid Eagle Finance, it was done with the purpose of helping Christian families navigate their financial life. A significant part of the experience I built for our client families was done to avoid many of the ridiculous things people experience dealing with financial services companies, financial advisors, people who call themselves financial advisors but really aren’t, silly stockbrokers, and all the rest. Here’s some of the absurd things they make you do, but we never will.
Absurd Thing #1: Drive somewhere, wait to see someone, and then maybe get some help
Do you get in the car to go pay your bills? No, of course not. You do that on your computer or tablet. You should be able to get financial help from a real person without planning a trip and sitting in traffic. This one is even more annoying if you have to secure a babysitter.
Absurd Thing #2: Hand over contact information for family and friends
Some financial people will give you a list numbered one to ten and ask you to give contact information for family and friends. There’s no quicker way to get on your best friend’s bad side than by handing over their phone and email over to someone trying to sell them something.
Absurd Thing #3: Be rich to get financial advice or planning
Husband and Wife: “We want to build a better life for our family, can you help us?”
Finance Guy: “How much money do you have?”
Husband and Wife: “Well, that’s why we’re asking for help.”
Finance Guy: “Yeah, come back and see us when you have some money. We’ll help you then.”
This is a maddening chicken and egg problem. It would be like going to a personal trainer to lose weight and being told to come back after you’ve lost 20 pounds.
Absurd Thing #4: Push garbage financial products that require you to pay a commission
A ludicrous number of companies still exist for the sole purpose of selling you financial products like annuities, mutual funds, or insurance products that carry sky high commissions. The adage you get what you pay for does not apply here. Don’t get sucked into the idea that commissioned financial products are the only options out there. There’s even some people out there that want you to believe paying a high commission to some salesperson is a good thing. It’s not.
Absurd Thing #5: Talk to someone who is not a fiduciary
A fiduciary is a professional who is required to put your interests, as a client, ahead of their own or of the company they are affiliated with. Everybody else? Not so much. Ask if you’re talking to someone who is a fiduciary.
Absurd Thing #6: Ignoring one spouse
Mark 10:9 has important direction for us on the importance and sanctity of marriage. You are, as husband and wife, one. Many folks in the financial world will treat married couples as people who just happen to live at the same address. The other flavor of this mindset is “dealing with” one spouse and completing ignoring the other spouse. You are one and should be treated that way.
"What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.” Mark 10:9 ESV
Absurd Thing #7: Claiming to know what will happen in the future
We make jokes about how the weatherman is supposed to predict the future and never gets it right. Why on earth do we take people in the financial world seriously who claim to predict the future?
Absurd Thing #8: Complexity for the sake of complexity
Some problems need complex solutions. If the solution is always ridiculously complicated though, then there may be a problem. Some financial people promote complex solutions in an effort to show their worth or keep you in the dark.
Absurd Thing #9: Towing the company line for products
Some people claim to have done an extensive search and concluded that for every problem you have, their solution is the best solution. What an amazing coincidence! The guy who sells hammers has determined that indeed nails will solve every problem you could ever have.
Absurd Thing #10: Claim to be able to help everyone
Husband and Wife: “We are married with two kids, 3 and 9, do you help people like us?”
Finance Guy: “Yes, I’m an expert in helping people like you.”
Husband and Wife: “What about that 87 year old man that I heard works with you?”
Finance Guy: “Yes, I’m an expert in helping people like him.”
Husband and Wife: “What about my dentist, we heard she works with you too?”
Finance Guy: “Yes, I’m an expert on helping dentists.”
Husband and Wife: “So you’re an expert on pretty much everyone?”
Finance Guy: “I specialize in people that have a pulse.”
The adage of jack of all trades, master of none applies here. The financial challenges your family faces are distinct from what other folks in another stage of life or family situation face. You deserve to work with someone who specializes in your family’s situation and stage of life. It's OK to ask someone who they do and do not work with. If the answer is lacking for either, then that tells you something.
Avoid the Absurd
There is indeed absurdity in the financial world. If you want to see what faith based financial planning is like, check us out. Otherwise, don't settle for shortcomings. There's good folks out there that specialize in your unique situation and what you need help with. Don't put up with the rest.
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