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A young military couple meeting at First Command to discuss the benefits of a financial advisor.

The Benefits of Working with a Financial Advisor

Mar 7, 2020 | 5 min. read

Though the prospect of sharing your personal financial details can be intimidating, two recent surveys indicate those who work with a financial advisor save and invest more than those who don’t.

A visit to the dentist’s office has become a default cultural reference point for an unpleasant experience. It’s not just about the fear of pain – real or imagined – it’s the fear of disapproval. Nobody wants to confess that they haven’t been flossing daily or be told that they have a cavity or receding gums. These reservations are not unique to dental patients, though – the prospect of meeting with a financial advisor evokes many of the same feelings.

Admitting to a relative stranger that you’ve piled up thousands of dollars of credit card debt, that you don’t own any life insurance or that you haven’t even begun saving for retirement at age 40 isn’t easy. So, to avoid feeling uncomfortable, many people steer clear of meeting with a financial advisor.

There are other perfectly understandable reasons why people may be reluctant to get professional financial advice. In some cases, they assume that they don’t have enough money to “qualify.” They may worry about the cost of the consultation and the development of a financial plan. And then there’s the DIY crowd who is convinced they can do it all themselves.

When you take into account all of these reasons for not meeting with a financial advisor, it’s hardly surprising that only a small percentage of people have an active relationship with an advisor and a written, up-to-date financial plan. It is disappointing, however, when you consider all the potential benefits. According to the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® survey, military families who have a financial plan and work with a financial advisor save and invest more than those who do not, and they’re more confident in their ability to retire on their own terms. The Schwab Modern Wealth Survey draws similar conclusions, comparing and contrasting the saving and investing habits of planners and non-planners.

So, what does all of this mean? If you aren’t already working with a financial advisor, maybe you should be. Yes, it can be a bit nerve-wracking to disclose your personal financial information, but it’s important to understand that financial advisors are not interested in judging you. They’ve seen it all and they’re unlikely to be fazed by anything you reveal. Their focus is on gaining an understanding of what you want to accomplish so they can construct a plan for efficiently and effectively pursuing your goals.

As Financial Advisor Brad Hilley in First Command’s Shalimar, Florida, office says, “The thing I love about working for First Command is that we are not focused on chasing after folks who are already wealthy, but on helping people who aren’t build wealth. It’s incredibly rewarding to help someone who is starting from scratch, or even trying to dig their way out of a hole, gain their footing and begin planning for a brighter financial future.”

Still anxious about the whole financial planning process? You’re not alone. Most First Command clients acknowledge that not knowing what to expect before the first meeting with their Financial Advisor made them somewhat apprehensive. But following the initial consultation, many clients express surprise at how relatively painless the experience is. Some even confess to enjoying the meeting and say that being given the opportunity to think about and express their goals for the future motivated them to adopt the productive financial behaviors conducive to achieving financial security.

At First Command, there is no cost for an initial consultation with a Financial Advisor and we offer complimentary financial plans to all active duty service members in pay grades E-5 and above. There is also no minimum net worth required to work with one of our Advisors.

Ready to get your financial life squared away? Schedule a complimentary consultation with your local First Command Financial Advisor today.

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