An aging population and an uncertain investment environment mean that investors, more than ever, need professional, objective financial advice. According to a 2013 Society of Actuaries Survey, almost half of pre-retirees and more than half of retirees fail to consult a financial advisor.1
To help recognize the work that financial advisors do and provide valuable resources to investors of every experience level, our firm participated in the inaugural National Financial Advisor Week (NFAW) in Times Square, New York City. Our Consultant Karl Schwartz served as a speaker for the “What Can a Financial Advisor Do for Me?” panel, which took place on Wednesday, September 17.
Scroll down to read a personal account from Karl discussing his participation in the event and reflections on his experience.
National Financial Advisor Week (NFAW) is a week-long event series that celebrates the excellent work financial advisors do for investors. This event is geared toward raising awareness as to the potential benefits of working with a financial advisor and also gives the general public complimentary access to talk to various financial advisors with specialties in just about every possible area of financial planning.
The venue for the event on the day I participated was The Town Hall in beautiful Times Square, NYC. Before I had to go onstage, I had the chance to talk with other advisors and meet many of the great people from the host company of the event, AdviceIQ. The panel that I was a part of concentrated on answering questions regarding the potential benefits of working with a financial advisor. Two advisors and a moderator, in addition to me, sat onstage in front of an audience of 50-75 typical, average investors. The moderator started by asking a few scripted questions, but it wasn’t long until the audience started asking questions of their own. Topics of conversation included Social Security, Medicare, long-term care insurance, risk tolerance in investing and many others.
All three of us advisors had a chance to contribute to the conversation and answer the audience’s questions. It was interesting to hear the responses of the other advisors, because I quickly realized that this wasn’t only an event for investors to get the chance to talk with financial advisors — it was an event where financial advisors could learn, compare and contrast their ideas with other financial advisors.
This occurred to me not only on the panel that I took part in, but in all of the others that I watched from the audience. Several times, a question was asked from the audience and the advisor addressing the question would answer in a way that was a bit different from what my answer would have been. I saw this as a good thing for me as an advisor, because it gave me a chance to hear other advisors’ perspectives on various topics, and in a lot of cases, increase my knowledge of a certain planning topic or help me look at it from an alternative perspective.
Afterward, some of the audience members came up to me to ask specific questions about the topics we discussed on our panel. It was great to see these people — some of whom had never worked with a financial advisor — express interest in this topic and really seem to realize the true value that can come from working with a financial advisor. Even other advisors came up to me to ask questions about my perspective on various planning topics, how we approach these types of items with clients and more, which was great to see.
The venue for the event the following day was outdoors in the middle of Times Square. The setting looked great, as you can see in the picture above. This setting had a much different feel than the day before, because there were people all over the place — some just walking by, others stopping for a while to see what was going on and a few of them even taking a seat in the audience to listen to what the panel of advisors had to say.
In my opinion, this was a huge success for an inaugural event. I’m not certain of the total attendance, but I would have to guess that the final figures exceeded initial expectations. This event will undoubtedly grow in terms of attendance year after year, and I hope to be a part of this great event for years to come.