How Much Do You Know About The Financial Products You Own

Randall Davey

I cut my teeth in the financial services business selling long-term care insurance. As another veteran in the business said, “I had but one arrow in my quiver, and it wasn’t sufficient to take good care of my clients.” 

“Know what you own and know why you own it.” 

– Peter Lynch 

The reputable company for which I worked is world renowned. They advanced a singular conviction: Everyone who is healthy and financially eligible needs long-term care insurance. Period. Full stop. After seeing their compelling statistics, I bought LTCI without hesitation. (I still own the product I purchased 17 years ago.) 

I had been selling LTCI for less than two years when I started to question the proposition that everyone should own LTCI sooner rather than later. I remember a couple in their late 30s who were doing quite well, but did not own disability insurance, and were woefully underfunded for life insurance. One could make an equally compelling case that they should have been bolstering retirement funding, savings, life insurance, and income protection before buying a LTCI policy that might preclude funding any of these deficiencies. 

The late John Bogle, founder of the Vanguard Fund, would refer to this example as “offering products on a sales platform in silos.” I agree with Bogle. Every product needs to be evaluated far more holistically. 

Before buying another product or making another investment, ask these kinds of questions: 

  1. Does the product align with your legal, tax, and wealth accumulation strategies 
  2. Does the product “speak” to every other asset on your balance sheet? 
  3. Was the design of the product steeped in economic science or in sales literature? 
  4. Did you co-create the product design or respond to a salesperson’s recommendation? 
  5. Are you clear on applicable fees, commissions, and taxes? 
  6. Have you stress tested your products to see how they may perform in turbulent times? 
  7. Is the product protected from litigation in your state and do you know why that matters? 
  8. Are you clear on how the product impacts your retirement objectives? 

Do not confuse products for a plan. Products may help you fulfill a plan if they are suitable, appropriately designed, and adequately funded. Take stock of what you know and flag what you do not know, then let’s talk to fill in the gaps in your understanding. 

Randall E. Davey, CAP® is a financial advisor with Guide Advisors, Inc. In certain circumstances, he may offer insurance as a sole proprietor or through Guide Advisors, Inc. He resides with his wife, Bonnie in Mesa, Arizona. Randall can be reached at or by phone at 425.478.5668. 

Advisory services are offered through Guide Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor in the States of Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Washington. The information contained herein should in no way be construed or interpreted as a solicitation to sell or offer to sell advisory services to any residents of any State other than the states listed above or where otherwise legally permitted. All written content is for information purposes only. It is not intended to provide any tax or legal advice or provide the basis for any financial decisions.The information contained in this material has been derived from sources believed to be reliable, but is not guaranteed as to accuracy and completeness and does not purport to be a complete analysis of the materials discussed. 

Guide Advisors, Inc. 19125 North Creek Parkway, Suite 120, Bothell, WA 98011 206.486.2477