Look at an advisor’s area of expertise. You should look for an advisor who specializes in your situation. For example, if you are nearing retirement, a potential advisor should have experience in that market.
Aspart of our series about what one should look for when hiring a financial planner or adviser, I had the pleasure of interviewing T. Eric Reich. T. Eric Reich is President and founder of Reich Asset Management, LLC. Eric is a registered representative with Kestra Investment Services, LLC and an Investment Advisor Representative with Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. He relies on his 20 years of experience and his “Enjoyable Retirement Solution” to help retirees have an enjoyable retirement by addressing their 5 biggest concerns: maximizing retirement income, reducing risk, reducing taxes, outliving savings and leaving a legacy to heirs. Successful individuals and families work with Eric to develop/implement comprehensive retirement & estate plans, and to create retirement income distribution plans while optimizing Social Security. Eric is a graduate of the Richard Stockton College where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business Management. He has since become a Certified Financial Planner™ professional, obtained his Certified Investment Management AnalystSM (CIMA®) and earned his Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) and Chartered Financial Consultant® (ChFC®) designations. He was chosen as a 2017 Five Star Wealth Manager* for the Philadelphia and New Jersey areas from Five Star Professional.* This marks Eric’s sixth time receiving the Five Star Wealth Manager Award overall. In 2011, Eric was chosen as one of Atlantic City Weekly’s “Top 40 Under 40”. Eric has a passion for volunteerism and believes in giving back to the community. He is past President of Stockton’s Alumni Association and former member of the Foundation Board of Directors. He also served as co-chairman of the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Development Committee. Currently, Eric serves as Chairman of the Board and a Big Brother for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Atlantic and Cape May Counties and was named 2016 Big Brother of the Year. He also volunteers as a Board member for the AtlantiCare Foundation and the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce and serves on the Bishop McHugh Regional Catholic School Lay Advisory Board. Eric has been quoted and featured in publications such as Kiplinger, CNN Money, MarketWatch and USA Today. In addition, he’s appeared on several episodes of South Jersey Business with Joe Molineaux: Season 1.You can listen to Eric live every Monday on 1400 AM WOND, and you can read his weekly column “The Reich Report” in The Currents & Gazettes of Atlantic & Cape May Counties. A lifelong resident of Cape May County, Eric resides in Seaville, NJ with his wife, two sons and daughter.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit more. Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Iwas originally planning on becoming a doctor, a radiologist in particular. But I was always fascinated with this industry since I was young. My aunt dated a stock broker when I was around 12–15 years old. I remember getting share of stock one year as a birthday present, and I thought it was the coolest gift ever. It paid dividends, split into more shares, etc. It made me want to learn more about how markets worked. Eventually, it was all I could think about, and when I realized my passion for it was greater than it was for medicine, I decided to make a switch.
Can you share a story about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting in the industry?
I think it was simply my expectations. I left a good paying job to follow my passion and made about ¼ of my previous year’s income. I thought I had made a terrible mistake. Deep down though, I knew that this was my passion and that if I stayed the course, I’d eventually be successful. Can you tell us what lesson or takeaway you learned from that? Never give up on your dreams and never ignore that little voice in the back of your head. You might be able to for a while, but eventually, it will become so loud that you simply can’t ignore it any longer. The sooner you follow your passion the better.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Lately, I’ve started to really focus even more on retirement and in particular retirement accounts. Retirement accounts are unique in that they have a completely different set of rules from other investments and being an expert in those rules has become increasingly important, yet few advisors specialize in that area. I’ve teamed up with renowned retirement expert Ed Slott and his Elite Advisor program to really become an authority in the area of retirement.
Are you able to identify a “tipping point” in your career when you started to see success? Did you start doing anything different? Is there a takeaway or lesson that others can learn from that?
I started to work with a consultant, and during our discussions one day, he asked who I enjoyed working with the most. I said retirees because they need the most help since they have the least time to recover from losses or bad decisions. That’s when I shifted my focus completely to retirement, income planning and retirees’ overall wellbeing, and things really started to change. I created the Enjoyable Retirement Solution to address multiple areas of concern for retirees. It’s no different than working with a doctor or a lawyer. You want a specialist in your particular area of concern and that’s what I am for retirees.
What three pieces of advice would you give to your colleagues in the finance field to thrive and avoid burnout?
Learn, learn, and learn. I find that by constantly learning new things, I am able to energize myself because I can help clients in even better ways than before. That renews my passion for why I got into the business in the first place, to make a difference. Can you give a story or example? When I started to become an expert in the area of retirement, I started to get asked to make appearances, do radio shows, and write articles. I’ve now added teaching continuing education to CPA’s and other advisors. Now, I write a weekly article for a 15 paper region news outlet, I do a weekly radio show, and write as often as I can. I feel like I’m now able to help so many more people by getting this knowledge out to as many retirees as possible.
Ok. Thank you for all of that. Let’s now move to the core focus of our interview. As a “finance insider”, you know much more about the finance industry than most consumers. If your loved one wanted to hire a financial advisor (not you :-)), which 5 things would you advise them to find out about before committing? Can you give an example or story for each?
1. To find a reliable financial advisor, start by asking your social network, family and friends. Research online for advisors in your area. A great place to start is the CFP board’s website, www.letsmakeaplan.org. Your local newspaper may also have advertisements for local advisors. Remember to research each advisor with an eye toward your own situation and goals.
2. Once you have a list of three or four possibilities; look closer at each choice. It might be a good idea to pick a financial advisor who is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional (CFPÒ), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), or Certified Investment Management AnalystÒ (CIMAÒ). Only a CFPÒ professional can call themselves a “Financial Planner”, otherwise they are considered financial advisors. Someone with these certifications has completed specialized training and passed rigorous exams and is required to complete extensive continuing education. Once you have discovered each advisor’s qualifications, contact the certifying organizations to find out if there have been any complaints against each professional. If so, find out how the complaints were resolved.
3. Look at an advisor’s area of expertise. You should look for an advisor who specializes in your situation. For example, if you are nearing retirement, a potential advisor should have experience in that market.
4. Inquire about how your advisor is paid for services. Most offer fee-based, hourly, or commission-based services. How they are compensated can greatly influence your selection.
5. Once you have narrowed your prospects to two or three possibilities, schedule a meeting with each professional. During this consultation, communicate your goals honestly and clearly. A financial advisor should be someone who will guide and inform you. He or she should continually increase your knowledge about your current financial situation and how to improve it. Ask for proposals at this time.
I think most people think that financial advisors are for very wealthy people. This is likely not actually true. Can you explain who would most benefit from hiring a financial advisor and why?
I view it this way-If someone with a lot of money makes a mistake, they still have a lot of money. If someone with limited means makes a big mistake it could be disastrous to them. Also, the younger you are, the more important it is to get on the right track as quickly as possible. A good advisor can help you do that. Can you give an example? Teaching a young person about the benefits of say a Roth IRA can have a profound impact on their future. It can potentially change their life.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I was blessed to have had an amazing mentor in Sid Friedman. Sid was a giant in the life insurance industry and even though I transitioned to investments over the years, I still use the lessons he taught me to this very day. He would say things like, “Assume after you leave a client, I’m the next person that walks in the door. Will I find anything wrong with your plan?” He would also say that bad news travels much faster than good, and that your reputation is all that you really have in life!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would want to create a national program for teaching kids about money and finances. While some schools do teach it, most do not or not adequately enough. The more educated we are, the better choices we make. We could radically alter the financial future of millions of people. You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.