Good morning. This is Larry Goldstein, president of Meridian retirement solutions, a Registered Investment Advisor located in Boca Raton, Florida. This is part two of my Retirement Readiness Podcast, talking about the true meaning of the word Fiduciary. 

And most Advisors like to call themselves Fiduciary and they’ll use it very loosely. But when you pick up the hood and look underneath, are they a true Fiduciary? 

Are they acting in your best interest?
If you have a Financial Advisor, are they a Fiduciary Financial Planner?
Again, most Advisors like to refer to themselves as a Fiduciary, but are they really? 

Now let’s take a step back and talk about the true meaning of the word Fiduciary. It has a much larger responsibility today than it used to. With the inception of the department of labor’s ruling in 2017 which requires Financial Advisors to act on a best interest protocol in their client’s best interest. A true Fiduciary Advisor must suggest financial products, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, etcetera, that are in your best interest, not him or the firm they work for. 

Demand proof that any mutual fund that you own or they were advising you by, that their compensation in that particular fund is not greater when there are lower-cost alternatives available in the market of equal value. 

This also takes on even greater significance in the hidden fees in that particular fund that do not have to be disclosed to consumer many times in excess of 1% higher than equal alternatives. And your Advisor must know that. So, in addition to the fee that you’re paying your Advisor, your Advisor on a yearly, quarterly basis, there are hidden fees in many funds, which your Advisor must advise you about when it comes to IRAs, 401ks and retirement accounts where it has taken a lifetime to accumulate those assets. 

Many times investors sit for years in those funds where a 1% higher internal expense can have a tremendous drag on any portfolios performance over any extended 5 to 10 to 20 year period of time. Many times that difference can be an excess of six figures just in the performance of a fund due to that hidden fee, that one or one and a half percent fee in that fund. 

Now, please understand me, everyone is entitled to make money. I don’t begrudge anyone about making a living, but not when excess fees, expenses can be avoided with the proper guidance of the Fiduciary standard of a true, true Fiduciary Financial Advisor. 

To take it a step further, is your Advisor suggesting financial products that are truly in your best interest? Do they have access to all financial investments or just access to what their firm gives them authority to put their clients in? Stocks, bonds, mutual funds, fixed income, where they can make an ongoing fee in their firm can make an ongoing fee. 

As an Independent Advisor, I at Meridian Retirement Solutions have available all financial products in the market. Many alternative investments, investments, which do not have a correlation to the stock market and its ups and downs and volatility on a yearly basis. We have a Fiduciary duty to act at all times in your best interest because of our independent status. 

The analogy is no different. When you shop for a car or a home insurance, do you one deal with a Travelers or an Alllstate, one particular company where you only have access to that one company’s products, or do you want an independent perspective and quotes pricing from all companies to ensure you are getting the best deal for you and your family?

You need to ask questions, probe, please do not just take advice blindly to ensure the advice you are getting is truly in your best interest and you have a Fiduciary Certified Financial Plan. That is a foundation or stepping stone for the rest of your life. Any more questions or to consult with me personally, please email me larryg@meridianretirementsolutions.com.