Walmart is getting into the business of financial advice?
I immediately thought, well, they are no longer as prevalent now that Amazon has taken so much of their market share, and they are trying to stay profitable to the market changes.
I have purchased numerous items made in China from Walmart through the years when my kids were growing up. None of those items were worth keeping. Instead, they were consumed or given away.
Walmart is currently in talks with Robinhood of bringing financial advice to their customers, and it makes me wonder if it will be helpful, or like many of their other products, have a limited shelf life. We will soon find out.
If Walmart can help people invest who never participated in the stock market, which may be a good start. I have met many people over the years who said they thought wealth management was only for people with a lot of money. The term "a lot of money" is certainly relative, but I believe there should be no barrier to entry for wealth management. If Walmart can do this successfully, I embrace and encourage it.
Who would I recommend Walmart hire to give financial advice to their customers?
It would be the same guiding principles that I believe every investor should seek advice from an advisor. All of these qualities are things that a robot cannot possess, but people can. Money does not solve money problems, but good advice can.
Here are 5 qualities to look for when choosing a financial advisor:
It is crucial; I believe that your advisor should not only pass the industry exams that allow him/her to be a financial advisor but also to be college-educated. A college education and other advanced degrees show that the advisor can start and finish an academic program that takes time and effort.
You will need the discipline to help you pursue your financial goals. Ideally, it also helps that person develop critical thinking skills that they should use to benefit you and your financial goals. The financial industry is continually changing, and for your advisor to keep up on all these changes, it is ideal that they are life learners and always strive to keep growing and learning.
Not all financial advisors succeed. Most smart people can pass the necessary exam, but they must apply that knowledge to be of service to clients and help them over time. An advisor who has been in the industry for over five years, statistically, has a better chance of making a living being an advisor and can be around for the next 10 or 20 years.1 If your advisor is experienced, they must have junior advisors on their team to help service in their absence and be part of their succession plan.
What is your advisor’s reputation? Have they made many changes in the industry? That can be a red flag. It is a good idea to check out your advisor’s compliance record on www.brokercheck.org. You will be able to see if they have had any regulatory issues in the past.
Do you have a good connection with your advisor? If you don't, it is probably best to find someone you enjoy connecting with and feel comfortable being honest with the truth about your financial situation. An advisor cannot read your mind, and if you cannot be forthcoming, you will not get appropriate recommendations.
5. Service Process and Communication
You must understand how your advisor plans to communicate and keep you abreast of the market. Your advisor may use newsletters, videos, technology, and social media to get information to you. Is this an effective way for you to consume information? Ensure you understand how often you are to connect to share confidential information and give you customized advice. The more you know upfront, the better your investing experience will be.
Robo investing is here and most likely here to stay. Businesses like Walmart may attempt to compete in that space, but I don't think a robot can genuinely understand and care about your unique goals and needs you have for your life journey. There are many talented financial advisors out there. Do a little homework, and you are bound to find a good one to help get you to your personal financial goals.
1Source: How to Become a Financial Advisor, January 30 2020 - US News
Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.