The value of an advisor

Money Matters

By Jacob Bales, James Bales Financial

The concept of a financial advisor is one that has taken on many forms over the years, but there is no question that today there is more value to a relationship with a trusted advisor than ever. Many people are thinking now, “Why do I need an advisor? The market is stronger than ever, why would I need someone to help with that?” I would ask those people to reevaluate their impression of what an advisor should be doing.

Even now the term “financial advisor” has a multitude of meanings. It’s true, many specialize in investment management—trading stocks, bonds and funds. Many of these will provide some level of a financial plan and can ultimately be good at what they do. However, the jobs of financial advisor and investment manager are significantly different from each other!

I would present the financial advisor as a trusted professional in the role of helping to guide your path through so many of the challenging decisions we all have to make. In my experience, investment management tends to be less than a quarter of what we do for our clients.

With each review, we are working to understand the client’s situation, needs and goals. We review the current state of the world and what that may mean for future expectations. I help my clients understand their assets and how those are working to meet the future goals that are set.

In putting forth as much effort as possible to the “advising” part of being a financial advisor, we often use managed accounts that have a third-party responsible for the day-to-day trading. This allows our firm to focus on making sure the needs of our clients are achieved on a more holistic basis, and those who focus in just that can operate the investments. I find that many new clients need a refocus on what our true position is when they come to see us.

Many people don’t think that they are worthy of meeting with an advisor. Not true at all! Young adults may feel they don’t have any assets to invest, but insurance planning is absolutely essential early in life. Younger people need to make sure that they are taking advantage of whatever employer plans may be available and saving for emergencies that may arise.

Adults in the height of their career may think they need to wait until close to retirement to need an advisor, but this is one of those most critical stages where those retirement savings vehicles need to be properly used to prepare for retirement. At the height of their earnings potential, many are not contributing enough to provide for the retirement they may envision. With the decline in employer-funded pensions, this stage is more critical than ever. Those nearing retirement may feel a bit more motivation to meet with an advisor, but think that only “wealthy” people need one. I would encourage every person considering retirement to consult with an advisor, even if it is only for one session or an initial consultation. Distribution planning, Social Security planning and investment allocation adjustment can use a professional’s perspective regardless of net worth.

A financial advisor has value far beyond the management of your investments.

Jacob Bales became an advisor in 2013. He is a fully licensed registered representative with Series 7 and Series 66 certifications. He is a co-advisor at James Bales Financial, specializing in planning, research and advising, including Social Security. Bales is a 2011 graduate of the University of Virginia. He can be reached at LinkedIn,, by email at or by phone at 757-591-9404.

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