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Get Wise to Your Advisor: How to Reach Your Investment Goals Without Getting Ripped Off


Praise for Get Wise to Your Advisor

"Get Wise to Your Advisor is a bracing wake-up call for investors everywhere. Steve Lockshin shows that while many financial advisors do great work, others work in a system where their own self-interest inevitably trumps the interests of their clients. This sharp and accessible guide can help you separate the solid from the slippery and put your own financial life on firmer ground."
Daniel Pink, New York Times bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

"In an era when both good and bad advice abounds in every channel of the advisory market, Get Wise to Your Advisor demystifies the options for the uninitiated investor. Wisdom is often borne of skepticism, and with Get Wise to Your Advisor, Lockshin provides a practical guide to help clients be thoughtful, careful, and prudent in selecting and assessing a financial advisor. His blunt and forthright overview of the tricks of unscrupulous practitioners will no doubt keep many from being duped. Bravo!"
Sterling Shea, Managing Director, Head of Advisory Programs, Barron's

"A top-ranked Barron's advisor with an admirable sense of social justice serves as an intrepid guide through a complex, conflict-riddled industry. Steve is fighting for what's right for individuals seeking investment advice, armed with fluency in behavioral economics, a level head, and a vision of how technology is changing Wall Street, finally."
Jon Stein, CFA, founder and CEO,

"Get Wise to Your Advisor is a must-read. Lockshin simplifies and demystifies much of the Wall Street mumbo jumbo that inhibits investor success. If you're not 100% sure that your advisor is on your side, Steve's book will help you find out and, if necessary, shop for a new advisor who puts your interests first."
Curtis Polk, Vice Chairman, Charlotte Bobcats (NBA); manages the financial and business affairs of Michael Jordan and his related companies

Steven D. Lockshin is the founder and former CEO of Convergent Wealth Advisors, one of the nation's leading wealth management firms, providing investors with objective advice, flexible investment solutions, and transparency. He helped pioneer the open architecture approach to investing and was an early adopter of asset allocation strategies for high-net-worth clients.

Preface ix

Chapter 1 Is This Any Way to Choose an Advisor? 1

Bad Financial Medicine 3

A Murky Industry 7

“You Should Meet My Guy” 11

Key Points 17

Chapter 2 Wall Street’s Dirty Secrets 19

The More Things Change 23

“You Don’t Understand ” 28

Misplaced Interests 33

Brokers and Advisors 35

Wall Street Brokers versus Main Street Consumers 37

Peddling Products 39

Omission versus Commission 42

Key Points 45

Chapter 3 The Wall Street Whitewash 47

Image Is Everything 49

Shopping Shortcuts 52

Vegas Rules 59

Key Points 65

Chapter 4 Hold Your Nose: Other Advisor Options 67

Bank-Based Advisors 70

Private Banking and Trust Departments 72

Asset Managers 74

Insurance Salesmen 76

Fee-Only Planners 78

Other Options 79

Technology’s Triumph 81

Key Points 86

Chapter 5 The Case for Independent RIAs 89

The Trouble with Fee-Only Advisors 92

The Case for Independent RIAs 94

Buyer Beware 99

Do All RIAs Live Up to Their Title? 102

Disorienting Disclosure 105

RIAs: A Good Place to Start 115

Key Points 115

Chapter 6 Our Lazy Brains: Why We’re So Bad at Choosing Advisors (and Investing Our Own Money) 117

The Gut versus the Mind 121

Salesmanship 101 125

What You See Is All There Is 128

My Advisor Is Handsome, So Why Am I Broke? 130

Why We Stink at Managing Our Own Money 136

Key Points 142

Chapter 7 How to Be Your Own Investment Advisor 145

Don’t Let Costs Mug Your Returns 156

How to Win the Game by Not Playing 163

Software-Powered Investing 179

Math First, Emotion Second 183

Why You (Probably) Still Need a Financial Advisor 184

Key Points 185

Chapter 8 Choosing an Advisor: Know What You Don’t Know 187

You Are the Family CEO 191

Core Principle: DUTY--Clients before Profits 193

Core Principle: SAFEGUARDS 198

Core Principle: PROFESSIONALISM 201

Decoding your Advisor’s Answers 205

After the Interview 215

Key Points 217

Chapter 9 Fees and Ice Cream: Baskin-Robbins Got It Right, Why Can’t We? 219

Chocolate and Vanilla 221

Baskin-Robbins 31 3 Flavors? 223

Key Pricing Ingredients (Building a Custom Sundae) 227

Chapter 10 Change the Game 231

Why Wait? 240

Afterword: Advisors in Perspective 243

About the Author 247