Guiding Principles

Our members may work in a variety of fields, under a multitude of models, and represent a number of different philosophies and service models. The common standards of our professionals are the below guiding principles. 

Principle #1
Financial planning and coaching has value. 

Financial planning is an activity that in itself has an incredible amount of value. It can increase the odds of achieving successful financial experiences and often the most important aspect is in bringing peace-of-mind.

But, too many today ignore that value and place all emphasis on how an advisor is paid rather than the great value they provide.

 

A key fiduciary behavior is for advisors to share with clients the costs and benefits of their service for the client to determine value. Fiduciary disclosure-based rules don't achieve their goals and seek to punish advisors who are paid in various ways but only in ways that measure cost, not perceived and real value by the client. Most groups that support these rules negate the value of having a plan in itself.  

Principle #2
An advisor is a fiduciary/steward in the common definition.

Credentialing organizations, advisors, regulators, academics, the press, and others are creating confusion and actual damage to advice in trying to force control over their idea of what a fiduciary is onto the world.

Defining fiduciary is simple - it's someone who is a leader and steward in helping clients make decisions, who places the client's interest above their own and all others, and has developed governance processes to make sure that happens.

economy (ih-kon-uh-mee); noun; Latin oeconomia; house, and, law, rule.

1. Primarily, the management, regulation and government of a family or the concerns of a household.

2. The management of pecuniary concerns or the expenditure of money, Hence,

3. A frugal and judicious use of money; the management which expends money to advantage, and incurs no waste.

Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary, as published in The American Dictionary of The English Language, defines economy as the value that most financial advisors provide today. Yet, fewer financial advisors have an understanding of the economy or place value on how to maximize personal finances.

The aspects and benefits of the United States reliance on free-enterprise and free-association capitalism are lost on many, but can not be by those who work in personal financial advice. While today's politics have corrupted the word, brief periods of capitalism remain responsible for lifting the world from tyranny, illiteracy, poverty and misery. 

The economist Ludwig von Mises thought there was a broader sphere of study that was important he called praxeology - the study of human action.

Personal financial advisors wear many hats, but at the core is understanding human action and the options to improve outcomes. While it may seem like common sense that advisors have an understanding of human action and the study of the home, it is less and less common for them to understand the basics of economics.

Advising on the personal financial goals of individuals and families is an honor as well as a major responsibility. An advisor needs experience in good times as well as rough times to know how they will react themselves, and so we require lengthy leadership experience.

Principle #3
Advisors are personal "consumer advocates." 
Principle #4
Experience and expertise matter.

 © 2020 Financial Stewardship Network, LLC