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The Importance of Transparency

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When it comes to retirement planning, there's no shortage of financial advice. But there’s hardly any such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. As we have emphasized before, any strategy must make sense for your financial picture. And for that matter, any financial recommendation should always be in your best interest as a client.

These dynamics bring up the value of transparency. Financial decisions are life-impacting. They are hardly small matters. At the point-of-sale, people rely upon the word, knowledge, and expertise of the financial professional with whom they’re working.

When someone purchases a financial product, it’s with the belief this solution will benefit their future. Unfortunately, there are a variety of drawbacks or downsides which may not be evident to consumers, such as “service” fees or hidden fees at final payout. This reality also exists in the life insurance market. It’s paramount to be fully educated and to exercise caution before making any financial decision.

Transparency in Financial Services and Technology

In one case, a technology solution allows consumers to receive online quotes on annuities in real time. The selling point behind this platform is it enables you to compare annuity products online. It’s billed as a means of increasing transparency.

But here’s the catch: Online quotations are limited to just payout rates and the credit ratings of the insurance carriers issuing the annuities. There’s no mention of a comparative feature for comparing any fee structures – which, if left unheeded, could completely drain your annuity’s cash value over time.

Nor is there mention of other necessary comparative features, including the ability to view product drawbacks. Consider this in context. If you were looking at a variable annuity, how would you be able to evaluate what your loss potential might be in the event of a market downturn?

How to Evaluate Transparency

Given these dynamics, the importance of transparency is clear. But what steps should you take to ensure your interests are being met? It starts with being clear what your own needs are, and determining how any potential solutions fit with your situation. Steps to take include:

• Seeking out information about retirement planning and different vehicles for financial security
• Education – there’s simply no shortcut to fully educating yourself
• Clear outlining of your needs, goals, and objectives
• Determining what these criteria look like now
• Projecting what these criteria will be in the future
• Choosing the right partner – find an advisor with a solid record
• Building a financial plan
• Asking the right questions
• Asking your financial professional questions about anything that’s unclear
• Weighing the upsides and downsides of any product before committing to it
• Careful deliberation over any decision – all factors should be fully considered
• Staying up-to-date in your knowledge
• Ongoing reviews – scheduling routine appointments with your advisor to keep abreast of where you’re at financially

Need Assistance?

These are just a few of the steps to consider in your financial journey. If you're ready to see if any safe financial strategies may sense for your future, SafeMoney.com can help you.

Use our Find a Licensed Advisor section to connect directly with an independent financial professional, and to request a personal strategy session to discuss your needs and goals. And should you have any questions or concerns, call 877.476.9723.

Author: Super User

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