CPAs are like financial gods in many a business owner’s eyes.
And I can see why…
They seem like wizards with a calculator.
True story: About 2 years ago, I spoke with a very bright CPA who had figured out how to reverse-engineer life insurance policies… which is useful if you want to see all the cost assumptions being made by the insurance company.
And… if you know what you’re looking for… it can tell you oodles about how the chief actuaries for insurance companies (the mathematicians who design the core life insurance products in the U.S.) think the product will perform over the long term.
Anyway, he taught me how to do all this but…
I was dismayed to learn that he also wholeheartedly supports Elizabeth Warren and her draconian (proposed) regulations on the financial industry.
His view is the insurance and finance industry is fundamentally dishonest.
Which is odd for a dood who is a CPA and does both accounting and fee-only insurance consulting.
How does one work in an industry they view as fundamentally dishonest?
I’ve no Earthly idea.
But it’s a common thing in finance.
More common than you might think.
You know who else is viewed as a god?
The financial planner. Especially if they are a certified financial planner or investment advisor.
These professions hammer on the fact that their graduates and members have taken a bunch of accredited courses and passed a lengthy exam… and that this makes them competent to advise you on all matters financial.
There are national ethics associations that certify financial advisors as being “ethical” (as if honest people need or want a certificate telling others how honest and good they are).
All professional organizations in the industry teach advisors to use their credentials as “trust builders” (even the coveted Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards).
Not their actual conduct. Their credentials.
Think about that for a moment.
And the really funny thing is… most (not all but most) of these organizations have one basic criteria to become (and stay) a member: pay an annual fee.
Call me crazy but I grew up in a town of 8,000 people where you trusted the person you did business with if they showed up on time and did what they said they were going to do.
We didn’t have “ethical farmer” certifications.
Reason I mention all this is because certifications are a big part of the industry and advertising model for financial advisors.
Now, I’m not saying everyone with a professional designation is dishonest or even stupid.
I’m not saying all CPAs and insurance advisors look down on their profession.
I’m not saying you shouldn’t listen to a certified financial planner or investment advisor or anyone else with a professional designation.
I’m also not saying the financial industry is flawless.
What I AM saying is… professional designations alone do not make a professional. And, they do not guarantee accuracy in all areas of finance.
They don’t automagically make an advisor competent enough to give you good advice.
They don’t make the advisor a god with regulatory clairvoyance.
And, of course, they aren’t a substitute for your own judgment.
OK, end of sermon.
If you want to walk down a different path.
A godless path…
A path that draws you closer to me… then pushes you out of the nest forever.
Come hither and let’s rap about adding life insurance to your existing financial plan.
I must warn you though…
My approach is very different (even among life insurance agents).
It’s not for everyone (particularly people who have no long-term vision, aren’t concerned about their future, and don’t want to save money for whatever reason).
Also, my time is limited so I can’t take on all comers. All the work I do is custom so…
I have to be selective of who I take on as a client… just as you are selective as to whom you take advice from.
Anyway, more info here about what I do and how to apply: