Getting stuck is easy.
To go Shakespearean: Let me count the ways…
It’s easy to get stuck in the same unhealthy relational and communication patterns. Being in a job you hate year after year, decade after decade is far too common. Don’t even get me started on all the cell phone companies, cable companies, and routine subscriptions and services we acquire over time.
Sometimes we don’t make a change because there is no other option. If we are honest, lots of times we don’t make a switch simply because it’s a pain.
It’s just not bad enough to do so. Why bother going through all the paperwork or phone calls to change it.
Making a switch is hard…even on small things like a streaming service you never watch.
Imagine bigger things, though. Like a more expensive cable bill that’s a grand a year. Or your financial advisor that you pay to manage your investments and give you advice.
I’m always struck when I talk to people who seem to be “fine” paying fees to financial advisors they rarely talk to. I can assure you, they are fine and dandy with it too.
Don’t get me wrong, people don’t work for free, and that includes financial advisors like us.
The problem is when you are paying for a service with something as important as your finances to a person who hardly communicates with you. And it’s not really that you don’t trust them, it’s just more of a shrug-your-shoulders kind of relationship because there really is no relationship. You bought an investment product from him a couple times in the past or you’ve talked to her a few times after your parents passed away.
Don’t beat yourself up. If that is you, your behavior is not unusual.
One of the technical terms for how people make decisions is defined under the category of heuristics. And one we are all prone to is the availability heuristic. Michelle Baddeley, author of Behavioural Economics: A Very Short Introduction, writes:
Policy makers and competition regulators are interested in how we use heuristics, especially in the context of consumers’ ‘switching’ behaviour—we are slow to switch our energy, mobile phone, and financial services suppliers, even when we could get a better deal elsewhere….Perhaps it is laziness and procrastination—but it might also be the availability heuristic at work. Unless we have had a memorably bad experience, we tend to stick with what we know, because we know what we know.”1
You only know what you know. And if what you know is that your current financial advisor doesn’t know you and your risk tolerance, life changes, and goals too… well, why not make the decision to get to know someone else? After all, financial advisors are bound by a Know Your Client rule, but you aren’t bound to your financial advisor.
It’s one thing to stay stuck paying your cable bill to the same company month after month, but it’s another thing altogether to stay stuck in a financial relationship with someone just because they sold you a mutual fund a few years ago.
Get unstuck. Consider making a switch and reach out to us.
- Published by Oxford University Press, page 40.