Good Not Great: Why It's Time To Reconsider Your Professional Advisors

July 11, 2011

Thomas D. Davidow, Ed.D.

While we may not be out of the woods yet, it’s clear that the worst of the Great Recession is behind us.  Now that the fear of disastrous consequences has subsided one needs to look around and see the residual consequences and begin to figure out you got through you it. The fact is that some families got through it better than others and there could be a number of reasons why. The examination process should include your team of professional advisors.

In the midst of the Great Recession, it was not advisable to switch advisors because it is very difficult to think about anything else other than trying to stop the ship from sinking – timing, and the ability to adapt quickly, was everything. You could not risk switching to a new accountant, new lawyer, or new investment advisor because it could take too long to bring the new advisor up to speed about your particular situation and needs.  It was more efficient to stick with your current advisor, focus on minimizing losses and hope for the best.

Now that the economy has turned around, you have some breathing room and your focus should shift back to the lessons learned and look for opportunities for growth. The market may be coming back but how one does business will be changing. You will need to have advisors around you that can help you identify what errors may have been made, learn from them and help you to go forward.

For this reason, I recommend that you reevaluate the people that service you. Go through each of your advisors and evaluate which ones were helpful and which ones offered meaningful advice not empathy for what you were going through. Which ones are the ones that you want to keep on your team and which skill set needs to be re-placed?

The toughest ones to re-place are those that you have a personal relationship with. The truth is that if you do not replace them then you stand a chance of losing their friendship anyway for you will begin to resent them.

I spoke to Ed Tarlow, founding partner of Tarlow, Breed, Hart & Rodgers, P.C., a Boston-based business law firm, who commented that, "With the end of the Recession, feelings of opportunity replace fear; it’s important for the client to ensure that his/her professional advisors are similarly poised to address their clients new needs.  Not all advisors are poised to give clients the personal attention they need to be effective advisors to them.  Our firm has since received inquiries from clients, feeling liberated from the Recession, who are looking for new professional advisors who are capable of helping them capture the opportunity to expand their business."

It is a good time to explore and find about other professionals. First make a list of the qualities that you are looking for in your professional advisors and then ask friends and other if they know someone who meets those criteria. Call them, you never know.