What are you doing to stay healthy?
This may seem like a strange question from a financial professional, but our bodies and our finances are connected. Health is an integral part of our lives, just as money is. And finance is a lot like medicine: there are lots of technical issues that require specialized training, but applying them is often pretty basic. Health-wise, we should stay active, eat well, and get enough rest. Financially, we need to spend less than we earn, have clear objectives, and don’t panic during the occasional market downturn. Simple advice, but not always easy.
Moreover, both financial and medical professionals have fiduciary duties to their clients. If your doctor or financial advisor suggests a course of action, you shouldn’t have to wonder if their advice is tainted by their personal business interests. And it would be wrong for them to mention your affairs outside of their offices. You expect loyalty: your concerns come first.
Taking care of ourselves—both financially and physically—is a long-term process that requires careful planning along the way. It’s one more reason I’m a little skeptical of robo-financial advisors, the same way I’m skeptical about robot doctors. Our health is highly personal, and doesn’t fit into standard cookie-cutter models.
Probably the most important service any advisor—medical or financial—can perform is to help us see the world as it is, not as we would like it to be. After all, getting honest, caring advice is one of the healthiest choices we can make.
Douglas R. Tengdin, CFA
Chief Investment Officer