Heard the Slogan “We Do Better When You Do Better”? In Other Words, Your Advisor Does Well Even When You Don’t

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We recently heard a large, national firm use the slogan, “We do better when you do better,” and we couldn’t help but scratch our heads. On the surface it may seem agreeable; after all, if they’ve helped you build wealth, why not reward them, too? But when you think about what that means, it becomes clear that there are a few things wrong with that slogan:

  • Retirement is about preservation first.

    “We do better when you do better” implies that the more money the advisor makes for you, the more money they make for themselves—a typical assets under management compensation model where they get a percentage of what you’ve invested.

But here’s the thing: you’ve worked hard to accumulate those savings to carry you through retirement. Now is not the time to chase returns. A simple market correction could make a sizeable percentage of your retirement nest egg disappear in the blink of an eye. With your working years behind you, there’s simply not enough time to win those losses back. Smart retirees are utilizing retirement-optimized investments with little to no risk to continue to preserve and grow their money safely. It’s not sexy, but neither is losing 30% of your portfolio. And let’s not forget your advisor still gets paid, even when you lose money. Perhaps what that firm really meant to say was, “We do better when you do better. But if you do terrible, we still do pretty well!”

The point is, “doing better” in retirement means more than just financial returns. “Doing better” means living the retirement you’d hoped for while maintaining a comfortable standard of living and not running out of money (or worrying that you could).

  • It says nothing about the services they provide.

    How exactly will they help you do better? If your goal is to not run out of money in retirement, then you’ll need to address the four biggest threats: taxes, market risk, investment fees, and long-term care. That’s precisely why we created our Roadmap for Retirement, to give retirees all the tools they need to keep more of their retirement dollars. After all, we exist to serve you. And when we do that well, everyone does better. Which brings us to our last point…

  • It’s all about them!

    Protecting your retirement has nothing to do with how they’ll do better. This is about you and your lifetime of hard work, not about what’s in it for them. To be fair, retirement planning isn’t free. This is how we earn our living. But we don’t do that by siphoning off a percentage of what you’ve invested every month, regardless of the services you receive. That’s your money, the living you Instead, we show you how we’ll protect your money and create your individualized plan. Then we receive a flat fee for the services we’ve actually provided.

So, the next time you hear a financial advisor rationalize their assets under management compensation model with, “We do better when you do better,” you’d be wise to be skeptical. Because there might be a better way.


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