Skip to Content
Advisor Insights

Don't Make the Client's Problem Your Problem

Contributor Natalie Choate with what not to do to 'help' clients.

What happens when a person dies without a proper estate plan? Often, unnecessary taxes, higher expenses, and other bad consequences ensue. When the decedent's widow and children are sitting in the advisor's office looking at these consequences, they are upset and sad and worried about their financial future. And the advisor feels their pain. The advisor would like to alleviate that pain. The advisor would like to be the savior who can fix everything and make those bad consequences go away.

If you are that advisor, and you can find the novel theory, the brilliant fix, or the clever workaround that will make the problem go away--wonderful! By all means, go ahead. But be wary of turning the client's problem into your problem. I occasionally hear of "planning ideas" that involve backdating documents, ignoring facts, bending rules, and/or other unacceptable moves to supposedly fix a problem. Using ideas like this will make the problem worse--and potentially land you in trouble along with your clients.

Transparency is how we protect the integrity of our work and keep empowering investors to achieve their goals and dreams. And we have unwavering standards for how we keep that integrity intact, from our research and data to our policies on content and your personal data.

We’d like to share more about how we work and what drives our day-to-day business.

We sell different types of products and services to both investment professionals and individual investors. These products and services are usually sold through license agreements or subscriptions. Our investment management business generates asset-based fees, which are calculated as a percentage of assets under management. We also sell both admissions and sponsorship packages for our investment conferences and advertising on our websites and newsletters.

How we use your information depends on the product and service that you use and your relationship with us. We may use it to:

  • Verify your identity, personalize the content you receive, or create and administer your account.
  • Provide specific products and services to you, such as portfolio management or data aggregation.
  • Develop and improve features of our offerings.
  • Gear advertisements and other marketing efforts towards your interests.

To learn more about how we handle and protect your data, visit our privacy center.

Maintaining independence and editorial freedom is essential to our mission of empowering investor success. We provide a platform for our authors to report on investments fairly, accurately, and from the investor’s point of view. We also respect individual opinions––they represent the unvarnished thinking of our people and exacting analysis of our research processes. Our authors can publish views that we may or may not agree with, but they show their work, distinguish facts from opinions, and make sure their analysis is clear and in no way misleading or deceptive.

To further protect the integrity of our editorial content, we keep a strict separation between our sales teams and authors to remove any pressure or influence on our analyses and research.

Read our editorial policy to learn more about our process.