Who Can Help? The Focus of Financial Professionals

May 23, 2008

Financial Professionals The Ones Who Can Help
In today’s world, many financial institutions offer a wide range of financial services to clients. Since the regulatory wall between banks and brokers was knocked down, the distinctions have been blurred, with many banks offering brokerage services, and vice versa. Still, I believe it remains true that most professionals tend to focus their efforts more narrowly.

Stockbrokers. Most stockbrokers help primarily with the accumulation phase and tend to have a shorter-term approach to investing, concentrating on the best possible returns at any given time, rather than a longer-term view that helps you get to where you want to be.

CPAs. Certified Public Accountants are primarily tax specialists, not investment specialists.
Private Bankers. Banks tend to focus on trusts, so they offer legacy/transfer services but usually not broad-based planning.

Insurance Agents. Insurance Agents focus on risk or the legacy/transfer phase of planning. They are often also well versed in certain types of tax-deferral or tax-avoidance products that are insurance related. Most do not, however, offer well-rounded financial strategies.

Attorneys. Lawyers work primarily on estate planning, a legacy/transfer niche.

Financial Advisers. Financial Advisers can take your financial plan beyond accumulation strategies to address distribution and legacy/transfer issues as part of a comprehensive plan. I’m proud of what I do, and I believe independent companies like mine, by brining together experts in all of the planning phases, offer the most comprehensive service.

Bruce Helmer is the President and founder of Wealth Enhancement Group, a Minnesota-based financial planning firm with experts in the fields of financial planning, investment management, tax strategies, insurance, and estate planning. He hosts a weekly financial education radio show on stations throughout the upper Midwest and is the author of “Money and the People You Love.” To learn more, visit wealthenhancement.com