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15 Lessons from 15 Years: Insights from a Financial Advisor

15 Lessons from 15 Years: Insights from a Financial Advisor

April 25, 2024

With 15 years under my belt as a financial advisor, I have been fortunate to have had a front row seat helping hundreds of families, business owners, and foundations become more organized, better protected, and build wealth efficiently within their risk budgets.  Navigating the complexities of personal finance and investment landscapes have provided a unique perspective on the intricacies of human behavior, savings habits, and the importance of asset protection. In my 15 years in this field, I have gained valuable insights that extend beyond numbers and charts, delving into the psychology and principles underpinning financial success. Wait no more… Here are 15 important financial lessons I have learned along the way:

  • Behavior Trumps Strategy: No matter how sound a financial plan may be, human behavior often dictates outcomes. Emotions like fear and greed can lead to impulsive decisions that sabotage long-term goals. Recognizing and managing these emotions is key.
  • Savings Rate Reigns Supreme: The cornerstone of financial stability is a healthy savings habit. Encouraging clients to prioritize saving a portion of their income from an early age can have profound effects on their financial well-being over time.
  • Emergency Funds Are Non-Negotiable: Life is unpredictable and having healthy liquidity is essential. Advising clients to set aside at least three to six months' worth of living expenses can buffer against unforeseen circumstances and prevent them from dipping into investments during emergencies.
  • Debt Can Be a Double-Edged Sword: While strategic borrowing can facilitate wealth accumulation, excessive debt can become a crippling burden. Educating clients on responsible debt management and the true cost of debt is crucial.
  • Investing Requires Patience and Discipline: The allure of quick gains often leads investors astray. Emphasizing the importance of a long-term perspective and staying the course through market fluctuations can prevent rash decisions.
  • Diversification Helps Mitigate Risk: Concentrated portfolios amplify risk. Although wealth can and does go up due to concentrated positions, diversification across asset classes, industries, and geographies helps cushion against volatility and reduces the impact of individual market downturns.
  • Insurance Is a Foundation, Not an Afterthought: Adequate insurance coverage is the bedrock of asset protection. From health, disability, long-term care and life insurance to property and liability coverage, protecting against unforeseen events is paramount.
  • Tax Efficiency Helps Improve Returns: Mitigating tax liabilities can significantly enhance investment returns. Utilizing tax-efficient accounts and employing tax-efficient investment strategies can help amplify wealth accumulation.
  • Financial Literacy Empowers: Many individuals lack basic financial literacy, which hampers their ability to make informed decisions. Educating clients on fundamental financial concepts and empowering them to take control of their finances is a core responsibility and allows them to make more informed decisions for themselves and family.
  • Risk Tolerance Is Dynamic: Risk tolerance isn't static; it evolves with life circumstances and market conditions. Regularly reassessing clients' risk tolerance helps ensure that their investment strategies remain aligned with their goals and comfort levels.
  • Planning for Retirement Begins Today: The earlier individuals start working towards retirement, the more time they have to harness the power of compounding. Time is an important variable in this equation and encouraging clients to prioritize retirement savings from the outset is paramount.
  • Estate Planning Is About Legacy: Estate planning extends beyond asset distribution; it's about preserving one's legacy and ensuring that loved ones are cared for. Discussing estate planning early and regularly with clients is essential.
  • Embrace Technology, but Don't Lose the Human Touch: Technological advancements have revolutionized the financial industry, but the human element remains indispensable. Building strong client-advisor relationships based on trust and empathy fosters long-term success.
  • Financial Goals Are Personal: Each client's financial journey is unique, shaped by their values, aspirations, and life circumstances. Tailoring financial plans to align with individual goals fosters a sense of ownership and accountability.
  • Adaptability Is Key to Survival: The financial landscape is dynamic, characterized by constant change and evolving regulations. Remaining adaptable and staying abreast of industry trends helps ensure relevance and effectiveness as a financial advisor.

As Albert Einstein said, the only mistake is the lesson not learned.  These lessons I’ve learned along the way are by no means an exhaustive list and I am continuously learning, but they have proven true over and over again in my work with my clients.  I truly believe that by understanding human behavior, emphasizing savings habits, prioritizing asset protection, and continuing to educate ourselves, we can empower our clients to navigate the complexities of personal finance and give them a fighting chance at being able to look back on a financial life well lived, a family provided for and a legacy of their choosing intact.

Here’s to at least 15 more!!!

Ed Inman



William Edward Inman, Jr., Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities LLC (PAS). Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), New York, NY. PAS is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Guardian. Ashford Advisors, Inc. is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. Ashford Advisors, Inc. is not registered in any state or with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as a Registered Investment Advisor. CA Insurance License # 0H26101, AR Insurance License #7949786. 2024-173595 Exp. 4/26
Past performance is not a guarantee of future results.  All investments contain risk and may lose value.Diversification does not guarantee profit or protect against market loss.