“Not everything that counts can be counted; and not everything that can be counted counts.”
“Spending can be investing – if you spend on the right things and really use them.”
How are financial planners like vacation timeshare salespeople? Read on and you’ll find out plus you’ll learn how to actually calculate how much your planner is truly costing you.
For some reason, financial planners like to be very circumspect about how much their services cost. Part of the obfuscation is understandable – nobody likes to commit to a price until they find out how complicated the project is going to be. I used to face that all the time in the software development company I co-founded. We’d have potential customers want us to do three weeks of investigative work to come up with a price tag for how much a project would be. That would never fly, so we gave them very broad price ranges with lots of wiggle room, and we promised that after three weeks of paid work, we could give them a much better estimate of how much it would cost as well as documentation they could use to go vendor shop if they so desired.
Financial planning has some of that mystery too. People’s situations could be very simple, and they could be very complex, and sometimes, we can’t really say how much a properly executed financial plan should cost until we’ve had some time to get to know you, your family, your situation, and your goals.
Part of the reasoning, too, is competition. One financial planner doesn’t want another financial planner to find out how much he’s charging lest he be undercut and lose out on price.
If you’re looking for the cheapest financial planner you can find, then you’re going to get what you pay for.
There’s a reason, after all, that Yugos were unreliable cars that nobody liked.
In a sense, being led to the cost discussion with a financial planner is very much like being led through a vacation timeshare presentation. If you’ve ever been through one of those, you know how it goes – you’ll go to some really nice location. The salesperson will meet you, offer you drinks, cookies, take you snorkeling, whatever. They walk you through the wonderful sales model and tell you all of the benefits of what you’ll get by buying a timeshare. They’ll address every objection under the sun that anyone in the long history of timeshare presentations has ever come up with.
Once they have you fully and wholly hooked on how owning a timeshare will be better than curing cancer or winning an Emmy, then, and only then, do they pull back the curtain and reveal the price.
I’m pulling back my own curtain before we even have a conversation.