By Larry Light
NEW YORK ( AdviceIQ) -- Face-to-face contact is vital when you make a financial plan. Recently, several advisory firms sprang up offering financial advice over the Web or phone. The idea is that these robo-advisers charge less than advisers offering in-person service. Well, you get what you pay for.
Advisers are not only for the rich and, yes, you can get a good flesh-and-blood adviser who charges a very reasonable fee.
What's the value of meeting personally with an adviser? Human interaction is far superior to a phone or online conversation. You can buy a diet book that tells you how to lose weight. But sticking to its lessons is difficult. The reason Weight Watchers is so successful is that you get encouragement and better information from actual people. The human byplay also renders tips that are tailored to you, not to a cookie-cutter version of you.
The look on your face, the tilt of your eyes and your body language tells an adviser a lot, offering cues that don't come across on a phone line or a computer screen. In-person talks are longer and more in-depth, offering nuances and information about you the client that remote communications seldom yield.The hours I spent with my adviser, Jim Ludwick of MainStreet Financial Planning, unearthed numerous important facts that likely would remain locked in the back of my mind if we'd merely spoken on the phone. For instance, I had no idea that the 20-plus years I spent in the Army Reserve could ease my health care expenses. Turns out that there's a military medical program called TriCare that ex-reservists can use. I thought it was restricted to longtime active-duty personnel. By chit-chatting with Jim about my life, the military background came up.