Success as a financial advisor requires that you practice as a financial advisor. Most people unfortunately who practice as financial advisors aren’t really financial advisors. At best, they’re portfolio managers. At worst, they’re salespeople looking to score big commissions. That’s not what I mean when I use the title financial advisor, and it’s certainly not the measure of success in this field.

The problem is that no single standard authorizes someone to practice as a “financial advisor.” Unlike other professions including medicine, law, and accounting, financial advisory has no single governing or regulatory authority charged with their members’ oversight. Doctors have medical boards, lawyers have bar associations, and accountants have the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), but financial advisors have no equivalent. As a result, you can find plenty of people in this profession who, for example, sell only insurance products or who are raising money in an unregistered private placement investment offering. No wonder that consumers are so confused and leery of financial advisors; too many who operate under this designation are just commissioned salespeople, not actual advisors.

When I say success as a financial advisor requires that you practice as a financial advisor, I mean you can achieve success in the profession by always placing your clients’ needs above yours and by providing superior comprehensive and cohesive financial advice. This advice covers ...

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