Which advisor's advice should I rely on?
I've visited two individuals about investing. Both are fee-based planners. However, only one of the planners specialize in life insurance and investments. The other leans more towards the investment side of things. The fee-based investment only planner told me that buying variable life insurance to supplement my retirement future is a bad investment. He recommended I should buy term and invest the difference. The other advisor who specializes in life insurance mentioned that I should contribute to my employer 401(k) match, max out my Roth, and any access of funds I have left over should be invested in a variable life insurance policy because I am under the age of 30 with a wife and kid. I like the idea behind buying a variable life policy because I get the best of both worlds, permanent life insurance that builds cash for my family with an investment feature attached. Any suggestions?
I will let you know that both planners have given you product solutions. I don't enjoy seeing that approach as advice right off the bat. One is using insurance, the other is just using a progression that is typical to we see in the industry. Yes, life insurance can be a good supplement, but you need more of a big picture program. The way to evaluate who is best is to go with the one that you compensate first for a strategy and then see what the strategy suggests, and I don't mean products. The strategy will tell you four things you need to know: how much you have in assets to fund your goals, how much immediate cash you have on hand to take care of known or unknown circumstances, how your debt structure looks, and how much risk exposure you have and what to move to insurance and how much to retain. That's it! Most people are not fond of planning, and frankly most people claiming to be planners are not really planners. It is not a regulated word like a CPA (most states restrict the use of accountant to a CPA). Here is a tip, find a planner who tells you "I don't know what will work best for you." If they offer a one hour consult to you and offer no product solutions, but offer to do a plan for you, that is a sign of a good planning office.
This is sort of an age old debate between planners. In this instance, I don't think either option is necessarily bad advice. If the insurance planner told you that you should invest everything you could afford to insurance, that would be a red flag. I think you should go with your gut on this one. Which advisor do you trust more? Which do you see yourself working with to get up to, and through retirement? If either of the advisors is approaching retirement themselves, do they have a continuity plan in place where a younger advisor may take over their practice?
Although the aforementioned questions have nothing to do with investment returns or determining the probability of success of a financial plan, they DO play a large part in the overall picture. If you are still undecided, do your investments with the investment only planner, and your life insurance with the insurance/investments planner. Give them each a few years and see who provides you with better service and consistent communication.