I hate cars.
Over the years, the cars I’ve owned have scalded, electrocuted, abandoned and stranded me.
I’ve had accidents, collisions, scrapes and more time making small talk with tow truck drivers than anyone I know.
And I’ve spent just an ungodly amount of money at mechanics.
But I haven’t really had any choice. I don’t know enough about cars to repair them myself, and I certainly don’t have the time, gear, knowledge or patience to work it out.
So I have to rely, completely, on what my mechanic says.
If they say it needs more oil, it gets more oil. If it needs a new set of brakes, on they go.
I’m completely at their mercy, and I’m relying on them to do the right thing.
The Vulnerability of Needing Advice
This, I sometimes think, is but a taste of what people must feel when they’re meeting with a financial adviser (or accountant, or lawyer, or any other professional) for the first time.
They generally don’t know enough about their money to know what they don’t know.
Which means they’re totally reliant on what their adviser says.
This is a tremendously vulnerable position to be in.
In fact, I’m pretty sure the fear of this vulnerability prevents scores of people from getting advice.
After all – there’s nothing stopping a mechanic from ripping me off. I wouldn’t know any better.
I know I hate that feeling, so I can only imagine how it feels when it’s about something as important as your money.
There is, however, one solution. And one only, I suspect:
I had to find a mechanic that I could trust, so that when he tells me my car needs a new doohickey because the old one is about to fall off, I can sign off on it.
Because I know he’s suggesting it to help me, not line his own pockets.
The thing about trust is that it’s really hard to earn and even harder to give away.
And as somebody that’s been through divorce, one of the things most effective at undermining your trust, you’re probably asking yourself – how do you find an adviser you can trust?
And, equally important, why should you even bother?
Let’s start at the end – why bother.
Any adviser – lawyer, accountant, financial adviser, mechanic – when all is said and done, is there to help you better understand your options – and make better decisions.
Better decisions will lead to better outcomes, which will lead to a better life and a better frame of mind.
And the benefits of those decisions compound and multiply with time.
Before too long, making good decisions becomes a habit.
But if you’re relying on yourself to make all of your decisions – and to increase the likelihood of them being ‘good’ choices – then you’re going to either burn out from the immense effort that requires, or you’re going to walk right into some of the big blind spots we all have.
That’s why you should bother – having somebody help you make better decisions is really, really valuable.
And having somebody stop you making bad decisions even more so!
You’ll be more confident, more comfortable and more at ease about the things you’re not really familiar with. Knowing that your tax obligations are up-to-date means you can focus that energy towards the meaningful parts of life.
It’s not easy, trusting somebody, and it’s important that you tread carefully, but when you’ve found someone you can trust, who’s also diligent and competent, then that can change your life.