THE INDUSTRY has an Identity Crisis…And You Should Know Why

When an individual determines he needs financial advice from a competent professional, they are sure to find an abundance of individuals anxious to help and each with a different title behind their name, proclaiming to be able to meet their financial needs.  After all, I have many insurance agents who call themselves financial advisors or financial planners, and who is to say they are not?  Does this mean they are equipped to assist you with your specific need? Even more confusing for the consumer, there are financial advisors and investment advisors: CLU’s, LUTCF’s and CHFC’s.  You might find someone with a REBC, CFP or CFA designation as well.  Unfortunately, this covers only a small portion of all the designations and titles you will find in the financial services industry and there are many advisors with no designations that are wonderful advisors. 

We know a title alone doesn’t make someone a trusted advocate dedicated to maintaining your financial success.  Yes, in our industry it is easy to have an identity crisis.  Even more troubling, consumers often have a difficult time differentiating the services offered among the various professionals in the industry.  So how do you decide who to hire?  First, you need to know what you want.  Do you need a financial transaction or a financial plan?  Do you want comprehensive advice or specific advice on a specific need?  This will help you decide who you should hire.  Typically you will find those giving financial advice employed in one of three business structures: insurance companies (Northwestern Mutual, New York Life etc.), brokerage firms (Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, Edward Jones etc.) or independent firms (The Helmstar Group). 

Brokerages and Insurance companies employ many advisors. They pay for their office space and provide benefits.  Each advisor usually has some autonomy to develop how they want to do business. For example, someone at New York Life might provide only life insurance solutions or might do more comprehensive planning with insurance a part of that planning.  An advisor with a brokerage firm might work only on stock commissions or may be fee-based.  He may do some financial planning outside of investment advice or may provide no planning. 

So why are we independent and why did we form The Helmstar Group?  Each of the advisors with The Helmstar Group has had experience working with a brokerage firm and insurance company. It didn’t take long in that atmosphere to develop a burning desire and passion to provide objective, comprehensive planning advice, and meaningful guidance to help individuals and families reach their unique goals. We did not want the pressures of large corporations influencing the recommendations we made to clients or encouraging and incentivizing us to use certain products.  We did not want the allure of commissions to blur our objectivity.  We felt the only way to serve our clients effectively was through an independent firm with a reputable brand of excellence in planning and investment advice driven by an individual’s goals and providing them peace of mind through helping them maintain and enhance their financial success. We know who we serve and how we can help.

When you consider hiring a firm, make sure they don’t have an identity crisis.  Do they know who they serve or are they a chameleon looking to be whatever you want them to be and whatever you say you need.  Chameleons don’t develop an expertise because they don’t have a predicable process in helping their clients. They are only trying to get the next fish on the hook.  

Hire a firm that can show you they have a proven process of helping individuals successfully reach the financial concern you need help with, and don’t get caught up in the identity crisis of the financial industry.  Undoubtedly, there are GREAT advisors able and willing to help you with what YOU need…you just have to find them and we wish you the best in your search!

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