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Financial advisors and wealth managers counsel others on money matters. Doling out financial advice is their bread and butter.
And like doctors who turn to other physicians when they’ve got their own aches and ailments, financial advisors often rely on others’ opinions when planning their own finances. And, in some cases, it’s a sanguine or salient money tip early on that leads advisors into a career in the industry in the first place.
We asked advisors from financial advisory firms that made the FA 100 list for 2019 for the best money and investing advice they ever got. Their replies follow.
California Financial Advisors, San Ramon, California
• Michelle Perry Higgins, principal: “Push yourself to save in your 401(k) until it’s uncomfortable. This advice was not fun in my 20s; however, it’s a great lesson on how to live on less early on in my career.”
• Mark Pitre, principal: “The best advice I ever received is that ‘Pessimists will always sound more intelligent, but optimists will be wealthier.'”
• Tom Powers, principal: “Bring your own lunch to work, rather than eating out every day.”
More from Financial Advisor 100:
CNBC FA 100 2019 list of top-rated financial advisory firms
Top-ranked advisory firms help meet their client’s financial goals
‘Personal touch’ will still dominate financial advice space
Dana Investment Advisors, Waukesha, Wisconsin
• Mark Mirsberger, CEO: “Let the power of positive compounding magically grow your wealth. You can just follow the math. Because of the power of compounding, the equation is real easy: You need to save as much as you can, as early as you can. You cannot delay.
“Yes, if you make a lot, it’s easier to save a lot, but people at every income level need to save as much as they can as early as they can. … It’s a simple, easy message to me and one I preach to every kid: ‘No, you don’t have a lot of money, but start a Roth IRA. Just put in $100.'”
Gofen & Glossberg, Chicago
• Charles S. Gofen, principal: “Diversify! Early in my investment career, a mentor explained that a concentration of bets may help create wealth, but diversification is the prudent way to preserve wealth and avoid financial calamity.
“Through the years, I’ve not only seen high-risk stocks in industries like biotech blow up but also watched blue chip stocks – from IBM to Procter & Gamble – plummet unexpectedly. Spreading risk across multiple investments is absolutely the best financial advice I’ve ever received.”
Montag & Caldwell, Atlanta
• William Vogel, president and CEO: “I was working at Wachovia Bank — this was back in the ’80s — and didn’t know very much about Warren Buffett at that point. It was suggested that I read some of his annual letters. After doing so, I went to one of the [Berkshire Hathaway] annual meetings, and I’ve now been to probably seven or eight [of them] over the years. The discipline Buffett applies to investing is very similar to what we do here at Montag. So I’d say that’s the best advice I ever got.”
Salem Investment Counselors, Winston-Salem, North Carolina
• Dale Brown, senior executive vice president: “I was still at Deloitte, sometime in the middle 1980s, and [Salem president David Rea] tells me ‘You really need to start investing in stocks.’ Up until that point, there really wasn’t any money to invest in stocks, not in our household. Like most young couples, [my wife and I] pretty much lived month to month, but by the mid-80s we were beginning to accumulate some funds and David encouraged me to begin investing. That, of course — and then after that coming to Salem — certainly solidified the process. Best financial move ever.”
Tom Johnson Investment Management, Oklahoma City
• Cory Robinson, vice president and portfolio manager: “‘Price is what you pay, value is what you get.’ The way I can remember it is as the Warren Buffett quote, but I’m sure I’ve heard other versions of the same thing over the years. I think it is valuable advice for investing, but also works for just about any large financial decision that you have to make – buying a house or a car, buying insurance, or hiring a professional.
“Paying the most for something doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting ‘the best,’ and paying the least for something doesn’t necessarily mean you got a bargain. The goal is to maximize the value you get for the money you spend.”
Wescott Advisory Group, Philadelphia
• Grant Rawdin, founder and CEO: “If it’s too good to believe, then it is! This is at the corner of ‘There’s a sucker born every minute’ and ‘Just say no!’ I have seen so many victims of investing fads that bust their boom, and fraud schemes of every type that play on hope and greed. (I have debunked, investigated, sued and testified on many.)”