Fear Can Motivate or Derail Financial Plans Helping clients retire with confidence

In a perfect world, people would use the rational parts of their brains when making investment decisions. They would listen to their financial advisors and follow the retirement and wealth management plans laid out for them – through good and bad times, as well as bear and bull markets. A well-developed and properly updated financial plan should hold up through most circumstances.

However, people are often ruled by their emotions, which can overcome logic. Fear –as well as anger, among other strong emotions – can make clients throw their financial plans out the window and ignore the advice of their financial planners. Large swings in the market, as well as changes in people’s lives, can compel people to make rash decisions.

Jake Falcon, Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® (CRPC), founder and chief executive officer of Falcon Wealth Advisors, understands how changes in a client’s life situation can have a significant effect on their financial life, as well as other aspects of their world. He typically deals with people nearing or in retirement; people in this demographic have different challenges and needs than those who are many years and decades from retirement. Given this experience, Falcon is better able to understand his clients’ motivations, and can assist his clients with achieving their financial goals.


In 2016, Falcon – along with Cory Bittner, CRPC®, chief operating officer – founded Falcon Wealth Advisors, which provides clients with goals-based financial plans. Its wealth advisors act in a fiduciary capacity and follow the firm’s independent business model to research and select stocks and bonds for its clients. The firm offers custom financial planning and transparent wealth management solutions. Its clients are usually within 10 years of retirement, or are already retired, and typically work with publicly traded companies.

Not all emotional responses to investment results are compelled by fear or anger. Some clients are driven by greed. With recent years of high returns, some clients will react when their portfolio does not grow as rapidly in the immediate term as it has in previous years. Some will want to change their financial advisors’ strategies to get those higher returns, even though the risk could be significantly higher. It could involve shifting away from an established plan that is geared toward long-term growth, and moving toward making investment decisions based solely on the return.

“An investor’s attitude can change simply because their portfolio did not perform as well as the U.S. market,” said Falcon. “I often remind clients to not let fear or greed drive their decisions. We put a plan in place, and we have a process that helps them to achieve their goals for the future.”

Some fear is relatively minor and comes from not knowing enough (in their minds) about the terminology and what different investments actually mean. Jargon exists in every industry, and it’s a fact that some advisors hide behind the language of the investment industry. This can impede clients’ financial literacy, and make them uncertain about their investment decisions, particularly when the markets become erratic.

Education is one of the best ways to combat this type of fear. Falcon, who is also responsible for the professional development of team members, ensures that his team diligently translates jargon into language that clients can understand. They will meet with clients in person, rather than via phone, so that they explain concepts in a face-to-face setting, where clients can ask questions and advisors can determine whether they understand the issues.

“As a financial advisor, you can help to alleviate your clients’ fears by being true to your fiduciary duties,” said Falcon, adding that a fiduciary is required to operate in the client’s best interests without regard to product commissions or other forms of compensation. “You must act like a fiduciary when dealing with clients’ assets at all times. When this does not happen, you must articulate when you are acting as a broker or salesperson rather than a fiduciary. Some clients might not be clear on this fact when talking to other financial professionals. We make sure to provide total clarity for our clients so that they can make educated decisions.”

The professionals at Falcon Wealth Advisors share their financial knowledge and expertise with clients in various ways. One example is that Bittner, who completed the Investment Strategies and Portfolio Management Executive Education Program through the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (as has Falcon), works with clients to create and implement comprehensive, goals-driven financial plans and investment strategies. Other examples include educational content for clients created by the firm’s advisors and delivered via blogs and podcasts on different topics, such as current financial issues, the firm’s processes, and advisor methodologies. Topics are communicated in a language that clients can understand, and repeated where necessary.

“We also create customized solutions that fit the specific needs and goals of our clients, and we meet with them at least twice a year to go over their investments to make sure that they are on track,” said Falcon. “We make sure that our clients have financial security, and are generating enough money so that they will not run out during retirement. It’s about helping them to retire and use their capital to do the things they want to without the fear of running into trouble.”

For more information on Falcon Wealth Advisors, visit:

Article provided by Advisors Magazine with the permission of Advisors Magazine.


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