Looking Above vs Below The Surface
My wife recently asked me if I would start going to her and our kids’ dentist. I had been going to my own dentist for years and to be honest, I liked him. The location of his office was convenient. It was located between my home and my office, while my wife’s dentist was located away from my daily commute.
I had been going to my dentist four times a year to have my teeth cleaned along with regular check-ups. On each occasion, he repeatedly told me that I did not have any minor or serious teeth problems.
Finally, my wife convinced me to give her dentist a try so I reluctantly scheduled an appointment. When I arrived, a very nice dental assistant greeted and escorted me back to the exam room. The dental assistant used state-of-the-art equipment to x-ray my teeth and believe me - the equipment was out of this world Star Trek type of equipment. After a couple minutes, I was taken back into a separate room in which it had a large television screen on the wall displaying all the x-rays of my mouth. Then the dentist walked in and started to describe what he saw in the x-rays. He pointed to small details among the mass of white, black and gray of the images. He spoke in dentistry jargon, and I had no clue what he was talking about, so I asked him, “If you were grading my teeth like you would a class, ‘A’ being the best, and ‘F’ the worst, what would you grade me?”
“Your teeth are about a ‘C’ grade,” he said.
I couldn’t believe it. I fell out of my chair. A 'C'? “How could this be? My dentist told me my teeth looked great. My wife’s dentist went on to say that on the surface my teeth appeared good, but they were suffering underneath the surface. Obviously, my dentist was overly occupied with the appearance of my teeth that he did not look down into the teeth to assess their health. Needless to say, I switched dentists.
This experience was a real wake up call. It was a wake up call to pay attention to both above and below the surface of the services we receive. This does not only apply to dentists, but also to financial advisors. Is your financial advisor like my old dentist? Does he make sure your finances look good on the surface but neglect what is below the surface?
Not all financial advisors are created equal. When was the last time you asked your advisor do perform a deep-down assessment of your financial situation? Are you and your advisor paying too much attention to the surface and not enough attention to the roots of your investments?
Ideal advisors will perform periodic checkups to manage your financial health on a deep level and on the surface. They will work with you to establish goals and tailor processes to you and your situation. Ask yourself this: "Is my advisor an above or below the surface type of advisor?"