There are certain times in life when you feel really vulnerable as a consumer. These situations usually involve a specific area of expertise that the general public might only have surface-level knowledge.

At some point or another you may find yourself at the mercy of a plumber, electrician, contractor, mechanic, jeweler, or anyone else with a specialized skill that you don’t have. There are plenty of hard-working, honest professionals who provide services, but be aware there are also other people who have hidden agendas and less than honorable intentions.

At least we don’t have to worry about that when it comes to our health care. We may shop around for the most qualified and experienced doctor, but we can take comfort in the knowledge that they put our care above their own personal gain. Worrying about your doctor’s intentions would create a whole new level of stress.

Many people are surprised to learn that it works a little differently in the financial world. They might have believed that their advisor or broker was acting in their best interest, only to find out differently later on. For some investors finding out who is and who is not a fiduciary was a painful lesson. Just to review, a fiduciary is someone who is legally obligated to act in your best interest.

In the financial world many investors deal with advisors or brokers who are not fiduciaries and therefore are not legally obligated to act in their best interest. They are held to what is known as the suitability standard, which means they are only obligated to present investment products that are deemed suitable for you. As you can imagine, that is a far different legal threshold and one that also doesn’t require the disclosure of conflicts. For instance, as an investor you may want to know that your broker is recommending investment options that pay higher commissions and fees instead of other options that, although were a better fit for you, were never presented because they paid lower commissions to him. As a consumer that’s information you want to know.

We proudly act in a fiduciary capacity for all of our clients because we believe our client’s best interest should always come first. If you’re not sure if your advisor is a fiduciary, or want to experience how working with a fiduciary is different, take advantage of a complimentary, no obligation financial review. We’ll start by evaluating your current plan and take the time to understand your retirement goals.

One of the most important things you can do in life is surround yourself with people you can trust. While it takes a little time to surround yourself with trusted professionals, you can feel confident in knowing that if your financial advisor is a fiduciary, they are acting in your best interest. When it comes to your retirement, make sure your best interests come first.