Do I need a financial advisor?

The mind-money connection

Want a pro to help you craft a successful financial strategy? Fortunately, good advice isn’t hard to find.

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Brian Ford (00:11):

Welcome to "Money and Mindset With Bright and Brian," a podcast to help you plan your financial future and find resilience along the way. I'm Brian Ford and I enjoy teaching financial wellness.

Bright Dickson (00:22):

And I'm Bright Dickson. I've spent more than a decade studying and teaching positive psychology and helping people live happier lives.

Brian Ford (00:29):

Today Bright and I are discussing financial advisors. We have an exciting guest joining us who will share his unique insight into advisors, financial planning, and the world of investing.

Bright Dickson (00:40):

That's right, Brian. Today's guest is Ali Mahbod, a financial advisor with Truist Wealth Client Advisory Center. Ali is a Certified Financial Planner and earned degrees in finance and legal studies from Tulane University. He also completed all the pre-med requirements, but decided his passions and talent were better suited for helping investors plan their financial futures.

Brian Ford (01:01):

Really looking forward to this, and as always listeners, we love to hear from you. Send us a quick email to Send us your questions, success stories, comments, or topic ideas that you want us to cover in future episodes. We won't share any personal info if you reach out to us.

Bright Dickson (01:23):

All right, Brian, are you ready to talk to Ali and learn more about financial advisors?

Brian Ford (01:27):

Let's do it. All right Bright, I will be the first to admit I have minimal, that's probably being generous, minimal design knowledge and would have no idea where to begin decorating a home. I'd probably find it worthwhile to bring in an expert like an interior designer, but I know just from past episodes you have an eye for that kind of thing, so maybe you'd rely on your own skills and intuition.

Bright Dickson (01:58):

Yeah, I'd probably be at a different starting point than you are, Brian, on that, but I think I'd still, and I have found it useful to consult with someone whose actual day-to-day job is learning about trends and offering thoughtful advice to clients and telling me exactly what's going on and who has a more nuanced knowledge of design in this case.

Brian Ford (02:19):

Yeah. Well, all right. That kind of makes me feel a little bit better. I bring this point up because it's kind of like investing, and what I mean by that is everyone has a different level of knowledge or interest. They start somewhere a little different. For novice investors, growing their wealth might feel tricky. A lot of us, from your everyday Joe Schmo to financial experts, we rely on financial advisors. These people, they can help us build a financial strategy that's right for us specifically and help us navigate the unexpected.

Bright Dickson (02:53):

Yeah, I think that's really true, Brian. The other part of this is this emotional benefit too, right? Having an advisor can help ease those concerns, answer those questions, be a sounding board for ideas, and really help us avoid reactive investing decisions that don't really fit with our goals.

Brian Ford (03:13):

Yep, totally agree, Bright. In fact, if I remember right, in our last episode, you dropped a serious knowledge bomb. You likened a financial planner to a Socratic friend.

Bright Dickson (03:24):

Aristotelian friend, Aristotelian friend.

Brian Ford (03:26):

Oh my gosh, I already got it wrong.

Bright Dickson (03:28):

That's OK. They were buds.

Brian Ford (03:30):

Oh wow. I feel I'm embarrassed now. Anyways, let's dive into this topic further by welcoming our friend Ali to the podcast. Ali, it's a pleasure to have you on.

Ali Mahbod (03:40):

Excited to be here. Thank you so much for the invite, Bright and Brian.

Brian Ford (03:44):

Absolutely. Now Ali, you've earned the Certified Financial Planner designation, or the CFP designation, and you are an accredited wealth manager advisor. You've got those credentials, that's quite a mouthful. Translation, listeners: Ali, you clearly have a lot of experience in this area, which is great. Tell me, what can a financial advisor do for someone's interior design, I mean financial strategy?

Ali Mahbod (04:13):

Well, an advisor can do quite a bit, Brian. Most people think only retirement and investments, but in honesty, we do a little bit more than that. In addition to retirement, in addition to actually helping with investment solutions, we can generally be a sounding board for logical financial decisions.

Brian Ford (04:28):

Yeah, I like that. I know financial advisors do more than just help with retirement and investments, so I'm glad you mentioned that, but let's get a little more specific. What are all the other things that financial advisors can help with outside the norm? Kind of financial, I would say investment advice, retirement planning, those types of things, what else do financial advisors help us do?

Ali Mahbod (04:50):

Well, in addition to that, some advisors can help with budgeting and personal finances. We generally like to help out in college planning. We can help with minimizing tax obligation. Now it's important to note that unless a financial advisor is also a dual CPA, most of us are not, that we can't actually give tax advice or any legal advice, but we can kind of help a little bit with the investment strategy on minimizing tax obligations, retirement accounts.

Brian Ford (05:15):

Yeah. Now you said an acronym, CPA, define that for me.

Ali Mahbod (05:19):

Certified Public Accountant.

Brian Ford (05:21):

Right on.

Ali Mahbod (05:22):

A tax professional is more of where I was going with it.

Brian Ford (05:25):

Yep, I got you. I got you.

Ali Mahbod (05:27):

Then unexpected financial issues, I hate to say it, but if someone loses a job or heaven forbid someone loses a loved one, this changes a financial picture a lot. We can help with that. Of course, investment strategies, and of course planning for financial success.

Bright Dickson (05:41):

That all sounds really comprehensive and it feels like to me it could really take a load off of someone's mind, to have those things managed for them. How are advisors compensated for those services though?

Ali Mahbod (05:55):

That's a really good question, Bright. It is fair to say that financial advisors do make compensation. Now in general, because it could come up to different flavors, but in general, most financial advisors are going to be rather commission-based. What that means is, they're going to receive some type of portion from a product they recommend or some type of dealer concession, that just means some type of commission. Some advisors are fee-based, where they manage your money and they charge you a fee based on the money that they manage. Of course, some of them can even be a combination of those two. Those are, like I said, the general ways most advisors are going to be compensated.

Brian Ford (06:31):

Yeah, Ali. Now when you say fee-based, would that be similar to the way an attorney is compensated? "Here's the job to be done and they're going to charge me X." Is that a fair comparison?

Ali Mahbod (06:42):

That is a good point. In its simplest form, when we talk fee base, say hypothetically you give us X amount of dollars, we will charge you just a fee on that X amount of dollars to be able to manage the money. If someone came over and gave us $5,000, we charge a fee for that. If someone gave us a million dollars, a million dollars is a little bit more to manage and a little bit more things going on, so the fee is still based on it, but it's going to be based on the amount of money that ultimately we are investing.

Brian Ford (07:13):

Gotcha, OK. That makes sense. Ali, we've heard a lot of buzz around using robo-advisors. You're an advisor yourself. For those who may not be familiar, can you explain what a robo-advisor is?

Ali Mahbod (07:28):

Oh, absolutely. Robo-advisors are virtually kind of the artificial intelligence kind of model when it comes to investment services. Ultimately what it comes down to is, a robo-advisor is kind of like an algorithm or some type of computation in the background where virtually what it does is it invests for you. The day-to-day decision making on buying and selling, investing, all those kind of things that you normally do, Bright and Brian, a robo-advisor will automate that for you.

Bright Dickson (07:58):

That's really interesting. I had the picture in my head of Rosie from the Jetsons, but it sounds like that's not what you're talking about. Robo-advisors are pretty popular today, right? I mean they're getting pretty big, right?

Ali Mahbod (08:10):

Oh definitely, yeah. Robo-advisors right now account for $1 trillion in assets under management. What that means is, that's the assets that they're currently managing, and that's back in 2020 statistics. I think it is going to triple, or at least it's estimated to triple by 2025, right around the corner.

Brian Ford (08:28):

That is a lot of money. So Ali, what do you think is driving this robo-advisor trend?

Ali Mahbod (08:33):

Well, interesting enough, just kind like every industry, if you think about different products, for example, Brian, your cell phone's a lot different than the cell phone you had four or five years ago. Bright, the car you're driving now is quite different than the car you might have had four or five years ago. Technology's kind of made things a little bit more efficient. Maybe the car is a little quieter, maybe it has more safety features. In fact, on a funny note, even when you think about Ring cameras or different types of camera equipment, you can open your door, talk to someone from your doorstep. Well, financial products operate the same way. The financial products that are available today have kind of evolved. What's happening here is you have a lot more of the technology aspect of it, which kind of comes in and allows for these things to become just a little bit more efficient in how they're used and using technology to be able to invest.


Generally, the people who kind of like these things are people who are generally kind of hands off themselves. People who are already very tech savvy, or maybe not necessarily tech savvy but they generally do everything on the computer, on their cell phones, on apps. They like the idea of integrating technology. Some people, they just don't have the habits just yet or they don't have the expertise. They haven't had the experience in investing, so they kind of want to get involved but would rather someone maybe hold their hand for lack of better words. The computer can help with the investment decisions. I always say it comes down to people having the time, the interest, or the expertise. If you don't have the time, the interest, or the expertise, a robo-advisor can kind of come in and help automate that process for you.

Brian Ford (10:06):

Yeah, I like that. That's a great explanation. It's funny you mentioned technology always evolving. I remember back in the day, I think it was like late nineties, got my first cell phone, it was like a brick. Man, this thing was awesome though. Then I was convinced that a flip phone was super cool. Bricks are lame, flip phones are the way to go. Then it was like no, flip phones, you're not cool if you've got one of those. Then it was that way for 20 years and just recently, they're trying to reconvince me, Ali, that flip phones are cool again, I don't know what's going on. Anyways, I'm getting off topic. I do like the last point that you made though, around someone who feels like they don't need a human advisor in their financial journey just yet. When it comes to a product that we're all a little bit more familiar with, like Truist Invest Pro, what's the benefit of having a human advisor in addition to a robo-advisor?

Ali Mahbod (10:59):

The robo-advisor does kind of an efficient way of just managing the underlying investments. It offers a little bit of flexibility as well. But when it comes down to the human element, it's important because the human element of it, at least if I was helping you Brian, I'd be talking to you about specific life events. I can get you more personalized advice. We could stay focused more on your actual goals than necessarily just kind of the dollar value that you see online when you log into your account.

Bright Dickson (11:27):

Ali, I'm sure you're familiar with this, that idea of loss aversion, right? This idea that people are twice as concerned about losing something than we are about gaining it, right? We experience more around loss than we do around gain. How does this play in here?

Ali Mahbod (11:42):

It's important to know that whether using an advisor or a robo-advisor and investing that, when it comes to investing, these things can fluctuate and they may lose value. Now having that, at least having a robo-advisor, having someone to be able to help manage with these things, can help a little bit because what they can do, is they can maybe help avoid a little bit of the emotional-based decisions that could unfortunately be bad for your financial planning or your financial decision making. When it comes to loss aversion, unfortunately a lot of people get nervous sometimes and they can sell at the wrong time as you can imagine, or they can make some emotional-based decisions. What's cool about utilizing a robo-advisor or a financial planner or financial advisor is most of the time they can be that, I guess that little space between that decision and they can kind of help mitigate that a little bit.

Brian Ford (12:30):

I like that, Ali. I like that space in between. Dr. Covey talks about that and how that's what makes us as human beings different. We've got the stimulus and then there's the response and what makes us different is that space in between. But we don't always quite get it right and therefore we either need a friend in the form of a financial advisor, or a robo-advisor. I mean, I think what you're saying is this helps us to keep calm and invest on.

Ali Mahbod (12:57):

That was perfect. One of the things I remind clients of frequently is remember, these are long term goals and long term is favorable for investing. When you're investment time horizon is long enough, you have the ability to recover from some of these bear markets or inflation or in an easier way, just things that might bring your account value down, things that might drop down the account value. If you have a long timeframe, it's going to be helpful for being able to not only recover, but continue on with your long-term plans.

Brian Ford (13:27):

Yeah, absolutely. I often say that investing is all about hooking up your future self. It's not really about now, it's about what you're working toward 10, 20 years down the road. OK, so we've now covered the idea that having a good advisor, whether human or robo, can clearly be an important part of a long-term wealth-building strategy. In our next segment we will discuss some of the most common questions Ali gets and how he responds.

Bright Dickson (14:07):

We know everyone's individual financial journey is unique to them, but there are lots of commonalities too. Ali's here with answers to what he says are the five most common questions he gets as a financial advisor. Ali, let's start with, why is investing in a 401(k) so important?

Ali Mahbod (14:28):

Great question. This is really important. It's the one thing that I emphasize over and over with my friends. Especially when you're young, when you think about a 401(k), what you're doing, you're truly doing, is you're building wealth. A lot of younger adults and people in the workplace, they unfortunately don't like the idea of saving for retirement, right? I mean, you tell someone who's 24 years old who might have student debt or who's trying to buy a house, has kids, they've got all these competing financial needs and you're like, "You need to save for retirement," and that's 40, 50 years down the line, who knows what's going to happen by then. If you think of it in that mentality, it's going to be a little hurtful because it's hard to get excited about it. It's hard to really want to do anything. It's easy to kick the can, which is not good.


What you want to do is change your mindset to thinking of it as this, your 401(k) or 403(b), some people might have that for government agencies, or whatever fancy number, 457, whatever they might be. All of these things are the same. They're your retirement plan at work. Ultimately what you should look at it as building wealth versus just being a tool for retirement. If you can switch to that mindset, it's going to be very good. I can assure you, there's probably not going to be a scenario where 10 years down the line you look back at yourself and say, "Wow, I wish I didn't save all that money."

Brian Ford (15:36):

Oh my gosh, you're speaking my language now. I love this stuff. I mean, when I teach investing classes, I don't think a day goes by where someone doesn't come up to me and be like, "Brian, that was awesome, but where were you 30 years ago?" I'm like, "Man, I was in third grade," and they know I'm joking, but it's crazy. We got to do this stuff when we're young. I agree. We got to hook our future selves up. All right. Ali, you identified kind of question number two, and you mentioned that clients often ask about life insurance and the importance of life insurance.

Ali Mahbod (16:09):

Absolutely. Now, especially in light of the pandemic, many people have been asking about life insurance. If you think about your financial life in buckets, one is cash for operating expenses. Two is maybe short-term savings. Three is your 401(k) or maybe your mutual funds, your long-term investments. Another bucket that's very important to consider is your insurance. That life insurance protects everything else. Life insurance comes in many different flavors.


Generally, most people purchase term insurance. It's the simplest and most of the time it accomplishes the actual need of the insurance. Term insurance operates like car insurance, you pay your premium and while you pay your premium, the insurance companie is like, "We're here for you, we're here for you." If you die during this term, your beneficiaries will receive a check for your life insurance. If you don't die in a certain period, it just kind of goes away. It's not permanent. The insurance company is like, "We were there for you, but now we're not anymore." It's a little different than permanent insurance.


I get this question a lot, especially from some of my best friends who ask about whole life and other type of permanent insurance. Now, it's best fitted for a certain type of person with very particular needs. All of these insurance products do a good job, but again, you really want it to accomplish a goal. In this situation, you'd be looking at it as, "What is the best use of this insurance? How does it help me solve a problem?" That's ultimately what insurance is doing. You are solving a problem or getting ahead of a problem. It's very important that you try to find the proper life insurance that really solves your need, hand and glove, that's going to accomplish your goals.

Bright Dickson (17:43):

That's really interesting. I think that's really helpful to kind of sort that out. I know too that people ask you a lot about IRAs and which one they should use, which one they should invest in, Roth or traditional. What do you tell them?

Ali Mahbod (17:57):

An IRA, IRAs as you might hear it, is an individual retirement account. Think of it as you got your company 401(k) retirement account. An individual retirement account is one that you can open rather with a bank, online brokerage firm, and that is going to be more customizable to you. Now with that stated, the different types of IRAs, you have a Roth IRA, this is not a tax-deferred account, which means you're paying taxes as you contribute. Whatever money you put into a Roth IRA, it's automatically assumed you've already paid the taxes on it. You can contribute and your earnings will end up growing tax-free. You can withdraw them tax-free, normally once you hit 59 and a half. It's important to know that these rules for these IRAs change very often. It's always very important to check with a tax professional, especially when it comes down to the contributions.


Now a traditional IRA is the most common type. A traditional IRA or just IRA is tax-deferred, which means you're putting money in now and taking a tax break from it. The idea is simple. The idea is, I am going to put money now, take my tax break now, ideally when I'm in my good earning years. I'm going to allow that money to grow tax-deferred, where I don't have to worry about taxes, until some point in the future when I'm ready to retire. At that point in time, I will go ahead and make my withdrawals. Now, ideally, when I'm ready to retire, I'm not going to be in my good earning years. My tax bracket should be a lot lower.


The kind of ideas around that traditional IRA are number one, you're saving on taxes now at a higher level. Number two, instead of investing say hypothetically 70 cents on the dollar, you're investing the whole dollar. Now the reason I say that is remember, you're not paying taxes on it, you're deferring that tax, so it kind of gives you a little bit more money to be able to invest for the future. And number three, ideally when you grow this bucket of yours into a large bucket, you'll be in a little bit more of the driver's seat where you'll be in a lower tax bracket and you could start taking some of that money out in a lower type of tax environment. Now my personal preference, because people always ask, "Which one do you do, Ali?" I personally really like the Roth IRA. Simple reason. There are very few things, very few, probably enough to count on one hand, that the government will give you tax free. When the government gives me an option to do something where I can have something grow tax free, I'm all over that.

Brian Ford (20:21):

Yeah, Ali, I like this discussion. I get this question a lot too, whether it's Roth, traditional, and a couple things that I think of is some people have told me that they love knowing that when they participate in a Roth, that the number that they look at is the number that they will get, as opposed to having to do the math with a traditional, knowing what taxes will come out, almost from a psychological standpoint. I think that's important on this podcast in particular where we kind of mix the money and the mindset. I have had people tell me, "Just from an ease of math standpoint, just psychologically, I like paying my taxes, I put the money in and then I just know that that is the amount that I'll get." So I thought I would mention that.


Another thing I'll say, Ali, is it's so interesting how we get all caught up and we're talking about what might be better or the differences between a Roth and a traditional. I wish we'd spend that much energy on just maxing these things out. I always let people know, "Don't get too caught up. I mean, obviously talk to your financial advisor, what's best for you given your tax situation." Man, let's actually put the energy into just investing in these. If you're doing that, you're on a great track. We don't need to get too nitpicky here, but I appreciate your thoughts there. Ali, often people want to roll over eligible funds from one retirement account to another, and they'll come to you with the concern that they shouldn't do that with an account that's down or in a market that's down. What's your advice there?

Ali Mahbod (21:49):

It's a good question, and I actually get this question a lot and I've actually gotten it recently from one of my best friends in Boston, same exact scenario. There's a lot of financial factors you got to consider when you're investing. One of the big ones is going to be your time horizon. Do you plan on staying in the market? What you're trying to do? Now in a situation when you're trying to roll over money, what I normally tell people, especially right now when the market might not be as favorable as it was before, they're like, "Well, I don't want to sell out at a loss." I'm like, "Well, think about it. Money going out of the market is probably going right back in the market. Yes, your 401(k) might have been at a level a couple of months ago and it's a lot lower now, but think about it, whatever you're investing in probably is going to be somewhat very similar."


If you're moving into an IRA, you're probably buying some kind of similar funds or similar type of investment. You're buying that investment at a discount. It is really a lateral move. Ideally as that is at a discount and when that rebounds, that will go up. Now if you decide that, "I, for whatever reason, am feeling more comfortable, I just want to wait until it goes back up." Number one, the bigger problem is we don't know when that's going to happen. Let's say you say you want to do that, "I want to wait until my money goes back up and then I'll move it." Well think about this. The investments that you're probably going to buy on the other side of the table are also going to go back up as well. What that means is, again, still a lateral move, you're probably buying at a higher point on the other side. Generally, money coming out of the market should go back in the market generally. If you're making similar type of investments, you should probably be OK to do it anytime.

Bright Dickson (23:22):

That's funny. That's interesting how you can see that little edge of loss aversion in there too in that conversation. Last question, Ali, should I avoid fees when investing? Should I really focus on not paying any fees? What do I do about fees?

Ali Mahbod (23:39):

Fees are important. Definitely not to say they're not important. But a fee is really only an issue in the absence of value. When it comes down to fees, it really depends on what you're getting as a value. One of my favorite funds is one of my most expensive funds. It is more expensive than some of the other funds, but I get a value. The value is interesting when it goes up. It does a really good job. The fund does a really good job of managing money. I've made some good returns. Also on the downside, when the market has dropped, I've also had a little bit of better security in the sense of when it's dropped, it's not dropped as hard as the other funds. Again, it comes down to what type of value. Now, I'm a big fan of diversification and diversification in account types, tax types.

Brian Ford (24:21):

Woo woo! Sorry. Big fan of diversification too.

Ali Mahbod (24:26):

Absolutely. Yeah. This conversation could go on forever. Diversification in fees I think is also important. One mistake I see a lot of people make is, "Well, I'm just going to go for this because this is the cheapest." It's like, "Well, what are you getting for it?" Let's think about how they make money, let's think about how you make money, and let's think about what is ultimately in your best interest. Bright, that was a really good question. We shouldn't be going out there and assuming that because we're spending more money or because we're spending X amount of money or these fees, that we are getting a value. That's also another mistake. Don't assume because it is more expensive, you are getting more value.

Brian Ford (24:59):


Ali Mahbod (25:00):

At the end of the day, what it comes down to is, take a step back and say, "What am I actually getting? What am I paying for relative to the industry average?" That's the important thing. If you're investing into an index fund, look at the industry average. Let's see how that's doing relative to everything else. I mean, is it really that much more expensive? Is it around the industry average? Is it a little bit more cheaper? Look at the averages, look at what you're getting. That should hopefully be helpful to determine is this the right choice or not.

Brian Ford (25:29):

Yeah, I like that, talking about value relative to what you're paying. Well Ali, this has been a good segment for people who may have had similar questions or concerns. Thank you. Now that we have some investing insight, next we will chat about what to look for in a financial advisor and where to find one. One of the questions that I hear a lot is, "How do I find a financial advisor?" And I think what they're really saying is, "How do I find a good financial advisor?" Ali, what would you say when someone asks you this question?

Ali Mahbod (26:08):

Finding a financial advisor is fairly simple. Typically, investors go through their banks or their brokerage firms, places that are already established relationships with their money. That doesn't really answer your specific question. Now, when you're looking for an advisor, there's a couple of things you want to look for. Number one, let's look for credentials. A lot of common credentials that are specific to financial advisors are Certified Financial Planner or maybe CFP, that's what I have, or Chartered Financial Analysts. You might see CFA. Or Certified Retirement Planning Consultant, CRPC. Another component that's really important is, how long have they been in the business? It's nice to see if someone's been in the business for a while, they've kind of dealt with the up and down of the markets. They generally are a little bit more experienced on that front.


One very important thing is references or referrals. When you first talk to a planner, ask for references. They're normally always friendly to that. They can always give you some good, happy clients. Good happy clients are generally a good indicator of, "Does this work for you?" Then of course, disciplinary record. Now you can check any of this, the disciplinary record, on the SEC's website or on FINRA's website. There's an investment advisory public disclosure. So after you meet with your financial advisor, you can run them up on this system in the SEC, Security and Exchange Commission's website, or FINRA. In FINRA, you can run the person's name and generally find something under disciplinary history.

Brian Ford (27:30):

That's all great information, lots of things to consider. Choosing a good financial planner, it's an important step, so it's worth vetting the right one.

Ali Mahbod (27:38):

Oh, absolutely. This is a partner. At the end of the day, this financial advisor is your partner in your financial journey. It's really important to find one that really does fit with you.

Bright Dickson (27:46):

As people are going through this process, let's say that I found an advisor who checks all the boxes you mentioned, right? All of those things I've gone through and they've got all that, great, but I just feel like the personal connection is lacking.

Brian Ford (28:02):

Yeah, that's an excellent point, Bright. I think this is definitely something that can happen and investors often overlook it because maybe they think it just goes with the territory. Like, "Hey, I'm not really into investing. I don't jive with this person, but I guess that's normal," but it's not.

Bright Dickson (28:19):

Yeah, I mean, I know that I've talked to several advisors and with some of them who I didn't end up going with, I really got this feeling that I was kind of being talked down to, that I was walking in and they were sort of seeing me as honestly a dumb blonde. The thing is, I am neither dumb nor actually blonde. When this happens, how do you address that personality match? How important is that? What do you do about it?

Ali Mahbod (28:49):

That is actually very important. You definitely want to feel like your advisor respects you and understands the person you are. It's really important to feel comfortable. At the end of the day, whenever it comes down to any of these things, it's about comfort level. What I tell people is, "When it comes down to your investments, what's most important is, are you comfortable?" Remember, investments can go up and down. You have to feel that you're invested long term, that everything works out for you long term. I've actually made the comment before when it comes down to thinking about your financial team, rather your again, CPA, Certified Public Accountant, or even maybe your tax attorney or anyone like that, I don't really care how much you know until I know how much you care. I think that's really what is important. So if you don't feel that way with a potential advisor, consider the box unchecked and just move on to the next one.

Brian Ford (29:35):

Yeah, excellent advice. Thank you. We appreciate that, Ali. Well, this has been a terrific episode. Lots of great information about financial advisors and just general investing topics. I really feel like our listeners will find it extremely helpful.


Thanks for listening to this episode of "Money and Mindset With Bright and Brian." And Ali, thanks so much for joining us today. We appreciate you.

Ali Mahbod (30:04):

Oh, it was delightful. I very much enjoyed being here with both of you. Thank you so much for having me on.

Brian Ford (30:09):

Yeah, absolutely. Let's go over some key takeaways from today's episode. First, advisors can help bring your financial picture into focus by offering personalized guidance on topics ranging from retirement planning, budgeting, or just simply staying the course when things get uncertain.

Bright Dickson (30:27):

Second, having a positive relationship with your financial advisor is just as important as the advisor's background and qualifications. Don't be afraid to rule an advisor out if there's a personality mismatch.

Ali Mahbod (30:39):

That's correct, Bright. And finally, investing is long term. Having a human advisor or a robo-advisor can help protect you from those emotional-based decisions that might derail your financial goals.

Bright Dickson (30:51):

Again, thanks so much for joining us, Ali. Remember, if you have a question or episode ideas, send them our way at If you want more Money and Mindset content, please listen to our other podcast episodes and check out the tools and resources at

Brian Ford (31:11):

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Speaker 4 (31:26):

This episode of "Money and Mindset With Bright and Brian" is brought to you by Truist.

Building wealth through investing can be tricky on your own. Having a guide is helpful. That’s why many people—from novice investors to well-known experts—rely on financial advisors. But what does a financial advisor do, anyway? Do you even need a financial advisor? How do you find one? More importantly, how do you find a good one?

In this episode, Bright and Brian answer those questions (and more) with some help from guest Ali Mahbod, a financial advisor with Truist’s Wealth's Client Advisory Center. Learn what to look for in an advisor—and what questions you should ask them.

Tune in to learn:

  • The difference between a robo-advisor and a human advisor
  • Five common finance questions Ali gets—and how he responds
  • How advisors are paid for their services
  • What credentials to look for in an advisor

How a financial advisor can help you budget, plan for retirement, and more

Want more resources to help you invest confidently?

You can find more investing tips and tools on the Truist Invest page and the ”Investing in your values” section of Money and Mindset.

This content does not constitute legal, tax, accounting, financial, mental health, or investment advice. You are encouraged to consult with competent legal, tax, accounting, financial, or investment professionals based on your specific circumstances. We do not make any warranties as to accuracy or completeness of this information, do not endorse any third-party companies, products, or services described here, and take no liability for your use of this information.

Truist Invest is offered by Truist Advisory Services, Inc., an SEC registered investment adviser affiliate of Truist Financial Corporation.

Investment and Insurance Products:                       

  • Are not FDIC or any other Government Agency Insured
  • Are not Bank Guaranteed
  • May Lose Value