The First 77

77 Things We Do for Clients

Revised by Palash S. Islam as originally written by William Smith.

What a professional financial advisor does

Financial planning

1. Cares more about you and your money than anyone who doesn't share your last name.
2. Asks questions in order to understand your needs and objectives.
3. Helps you determine where you are at present.
4. Guides you to think about areas of your financial life you may not have considered.
5. Helps organize your financial situation.
6. Formalizes your goals and puts them in writing for you.
7. Helps you prioritize your financial opportunities.
8. Helps you determine realistic goals.
9. Studies possible alternatives that could meet your goals.
10. Prepares a financial plan and/or an investment policy statement for you.
11. Makes specific recommendations to help you meet your goals.
12. Implements those recommendations.
13. Suggests creative alternatives that you may not have considered.
14. Reviews and recommends life insurance policies to protect your family.
15. Assists you in setting up a company retirement plan.
16. Prepares a financial plan for you.
17. Assists in preparing an estate plan for you.
18. Reviews your children's custodial accounts and 529 plans.
19. Helps you determine your IRA Required Minimum Distribution.
20. Persuades you to do the things you know you ought to do, even if you don't feel like doing them.


21. Prepares an asset allocation or investment policy statement
22. Does due diligence on money managers and mutual fund managers in order to make appropriate recommendations.
23. Stays up to date on changes in the investment world.
24. Monitors your investments.
25. Reviews your existing annuities.
26. Reviews your investments in your company 401(k) or 403(b) plans.
27. Reviews your existing IRAs.
28. Reviews and revises portfolios as conditions change.
29. Guides you through difficult periods in the stock market by sharing historical perspective.
30. Improves your investment performance.
31. Looks "inside" your mutual funds to compare how many of their holdings duplicate each other.
32. Converts your investments to lifetime income.
33. Helps you evaluate the differences in risk levels between various fixed-income investments such as government bonds and corporate bonds.
34. Provides research on stocks from both his firm and third parties.
35. Helps handle exchanges, tenders, and special stock dividends.
36. Records and researches your cost basis on securities.
37. Provides you with unbiased stock research.
38. Provides you with personal stock analysis.
39. Determines the risk level of your existing portfolio.
40. Helps you consolidate and simplify your investments.
41. Can provide you with technical, fundamental, and quantitative stock analysis.
42. Provides you with alternative investment options.
43. Provides you with executive services involving restricted stock and employer stock options.
44. Provides introductions to money managers.
45. Shows you how to access your statements and other information online.
46. Shops for top CD rates from financial institutions throughout the country.
47. Provides access to answers from major investment firms.


48. Suggests alternatives to lower your taxes during retirement.
49. Reviews your tax returns with an eye to possible savings in the future.
50. Stays up to date on tax law changes.
51. Helps you reduce your taxes.
52. Repositions investments to take full advantage of tax law provisions.
53. Works with your tax and legal advisors to help you meet your financial goals.

Person to person

54. Monitors changes in your life and family situation.
55. Proactively keeps in touch with you.
56. Remains only a telephone call away to answer financial questions for you.
57. Serves as a human glossary of financial terms such as beta, P/E ratio, and Sharpe ratio.
58. Makes sure that he and his firm provide excellent service at all times.
59. Provides referrals to other professionals, such as accountants and attorneys.
60. Refers you to banking establishments for loan and trust alternatives.
61. Provides you with a chart showing the monthly income from all of your investments.
62. Suggests alternatives to increase your income during retirement.
63. Listens and provides feedback in a way that a magazine or newsletter writer does not.
64. Shares the experience of dozens or hundreds of his clients who have faced circumstances similar to yours.
65. Helps educate your children and grandchildren about investments and financial concepts.
66. Holds seminars to discuss significant and/or new financial concepts.
67. Helps with the continuity of your family's financial plan through generations.
68. Facilitates the transfer of investments from individual names to trust, or from an owner through to beneficiaries.
69. Keeps you on track.
70. Identifies your savings shortfalls.
71. Develops and monitors a strategy for debt reduction.
72. Educates you on retirement issues.
73. Educates you on estate planning issues.
74. Educates you on college savings and financial aid options.
75. Is someone you can trust and get advice from in all your financial matters.
76. Is a wise sounding board for ideas you are considering.
77. Helps with refinancing needs