I'm a Missionary, not a Mercenary.
My work is a mission first, a profession second, and a job third. While determining if a financial planner is a missionary might be difficult, determining if they're a professional isn't:
PROFESSIONALS HAVE A FIDUCIARY DUTY TO PUT THEIR CLIENTS’ INTERESTS FIRST.
The only individuals who are held to a fiduciary standard in financial planning have the designation of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ or CFP®. The only firms that are held to a fiduciary standard in financial planning are Registered Investment Advisers (RIAs), which earn only fees, never commissions. Mark DiGiovanni is a CFP® practitioner and Marathon Financial Strategies Inc. is an RIA.
PROFESSIONALS ARE PAID DIRECTLY BY THE CLIENT.
Whoever pays the piper calls the tune. You may pay an adviser to advise, but brokerages, insurance companies, mutual funds and others pay that adviser to sell. If those advising you aren’t paid directly by you and by you alone, potential conflicts of interest exist. Our only sources of income are fees paid directly by the client.
PROFESSIONALS DON’T HAVE OUTSIDE BUSINESS AFFILIATIONS.
At a minimum, outside business affiliations can be a distraction to the professional trying to do the best work for the client. Worse, such affiliations could demand that your adviser serve another master. Marathon Financial Strategies has only one affiliation – to its clients.
PROFESSIONALS HAVE PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION AND CREDENTIALS.
The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation or CFP® is the gold standard of financial planning designations, yet only about seven percent of those who claim to do financial planning have earned the designation. Mark DiGiovanni has been a CFP® certificant since 1997 and was appointed in 2010 by the CFP Board of Standards to represent the profession to the public as a CFP Ambassador. He has also authored seven financial advice books.
PROFESSIONALS ARE INDEPENDENT.
Client abuses and other actions by many large financial firms led to the financial crisis of recent times and to greater distrust by the public. No outside firms or individuals have any ownership interests or decision-making influence on Marathon Financial Strategies, nor will they.
Meeting these five standards is difficult, which is why so few in this business meet them and can therefore be considered true professionals. Yet meeting these standards is required to meet the one standard most important to clients – the Standard of Trustworthiness.