Financial Feast: Server vs. Personal Trainer

Aaron Lieberman |

You know that feeling you get when you’re really hungry, you walk into a restaurant and everything on the menu looks good? It’s almost like as soon as you step through those doors and greet the host your mind is racing. You’re so hungry that you’ll order almost anything just to satisfy that hunger. Now imagine experiencing that feeling, but knowing that you’re on a diet and that it would be in your best interest to make a healthy selection when it’s time to order.

As you take your seat, you convince yourself that you will eat healthy, but your server walks over and immediately points to the advertisement on the table, suggesting that you try the restaurant’s grease filled smorgasbord of appetizers. What should you do? Well, that’s up to you. The one thing you should consider though is what ramifications will come with the choice you make.

Many of us have been faced with predicaments like this, in many areas of our lives, but when it comes to making a decision, it can be overwhelming. For some, finances can be one of those areas where decisions don’t come easy. How do you pick the right advisor? There are so many to choose from, but without the proper research, the task of deciding who to pick can be daunting. Inherently, we just want to make the right decisions, but sometimes, we don’t know what they are. When seeking guidance, it’s important to receive it from someone who is acting in your best interest.

In regards to the financial world, the broker-dealer could be looked at like a server in a restaurant. They’ll happily suggest whatever the firm is pushing at that particular moment, with no regard as to if it is truly in your best interest. It’s not malicious, it’s just business and they have a job to do. As long as they can find some justification for the recommendations they give, they are in the clear.

Enter the fiduciary! The personal trainer of the financial world so to speak. What would your personal trainer say if you ordered that deep fried dish of appetizers the server suggested? They would probably remind you that in regards to your current situation, it may not be the best choice. They’ve spent time learning about you, understanding your situation and setting goals with you. They have a vested interest in your well-being and are held to a higher standard than the server at the restaurant in regards to advising you in your food choices, because of the role they have been entrusted in.

From a financial advisory perspective, fiduciaries are much the same. They are legally obligated to advise you in your best interest, not their own. Fiduciaries receive no compensation from third parties based on what they recommend and they are not directed. by a larger entity on how to advise their clients. To truly advise a client is to truly understand them. It’s to know what motivates them, what concerns them and where they hope to get. Fiduciaries check all of these boxes.

If your physical well-being were on the line, would you rely on the recommendations of your server, or the recommendations of your personal trainer? Your answer could have far reaching implications on other areas of your life. It all comes down to perspective.

Marathon Wealth Management, Inc. (“Marathon”) is a registered investment advisor with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Marathon provides investment advisory and related services for clients nationally. Marathon will maintain all applicable registration and licenses.