A friend recounted his recent experience interviewing a prospective financial advisor. He'd been favorably impressed.
The would-be advisor informed him that he would not only help with investments, but provide tax strategy recommendations as an added value, to show how far he was willing to go above and beyond the less comprehensive services provided by his peers.
The suitor's first piece of advice? Let me introduce you to an insurance agent who can set you up with whole life insurance, where you'll never pay taxes on the money you invest.
I gently suggested that this prospective advisor might be waving a very big, very red flag with this move.
My friend gave the prospective advisor the benefit of the doubt. After all, the advisor had said the whole life insurance product might be right for some of his clients, and he thought it worth considering.
After our chat, I referred my friend to the most recent of the bazillion WCI posts debunking the myth that purchasing this product is in the best interest of most of the people it is sold to.
The French have a special term for the witty comeback you can't think of until it's too late and you've already left the company of the person you were verbally sparring with, called l'esprit de l'escalier, which translates as the wit of the staircase.
While ours was not an adversarial conversation, it did inspire this (admittedly strained) analogy that I conceived only after we'd parted company:
Patient: I'm here to see you about my ingrown toenail.
Doctor: I'd like to refer you for a craniotomy.
Patient: I'm not very familiar with that as a treatment for an ingrown toenail.
Doctor: In a subset of patients, it completely relieves the pain of the ingrown toenail.
Patient: That seems like a pretty complex solution to my problem.
Doctor: Medicine is complex. I'm not saying a craniotomy will be right for you, I'm just saying it couldn't hurt to see a neurosurgeon and hear what they have to offer.