How Do You Measure the Value of Advice?

By Rob Whitney, Jr., CFP®, Vice President, Senior Financial Planner
July 10, 2020

There’s little doubt that Spring 2020 will be remembered. Not for a buzzer beater in the NCAA tournament. Not for
the pomp and circumstance of graduation ceremonies. Not for home runs from little leaguers. No, what these past few
months will be remembered for is the pandemic that brought us endless unexpected togetherness with family—living,
working, studying, teaching, babysitting, cooking, eating, reading, playing, gaming, improvising—all under one roof,
all day and all night long. And who can forget the advice to help curb the spread of the virus: social distancing from
friends, co-workers, teachers, and extended family—not to mention washing hands, wearing masks, and standing six
feet apart in public.

Web Conference
During these challenging times, local and state officials, national leaders, and world health experts have advised us on how to physically distance and keep ourselves and our loved ones safe from an unknown virus that was on no one’s
radar screen—until it suddenly was. Difficult personal and family decisions have been made on the fly, sometimes with
more advice than we can even process—sometimes with no advice at all.

It’s hard, if not impossible, to quantify the value or act on all the “mass” advice we’ve been bombarded with lately. At
some point perhaps one of the simplest, most important pieces of advice many have carried through life crossed your
mind too: “The Golden Rule” to treat people the way you want to be treated. It’s a tried-and-true lesson for life—and
for doing business.

It’s what individuals can expect from professionals such as doctors, sales representatives, and investment advisors.
Here’s how to build a professional relationship based on mutual respect.

In order to build a good, strong relationship with an advisor, you should feel comfortable enough to share your fears
and concerns. You should be able to ask questions about anything—especially in these stressful times. Getting good,
objective advice from your advisor depends on you being open and trusting. You should feel safe bringing up topics
ranging from cash flow management to having access to your wealth when you need it in an emergency. You should
feel comfortable asking for advice regarding sensitive family matters such as arranging for substance abuse treatment,
posting bail for a loved one, or passing your estate on to your heirs. No matter how personal or basic the question—ask

Also, an objective advisor can help you avoid mistakes. Your emotions—and even overconfidence—can cloud your
judgment and cost you. Bringing in a candid, unbiased perspective provides support for any kind of market activity—
stable or volatile. It’s only natural—and wise—to reexamine your financial outlook after an unexpected or gamechanging
life event such as the pandemic. Or to hear life’s clock ticking and feel the urgency to plan more deliberately
to better work toward your most cherished goals.

There are more ways than just monitoring returns in your portfolio to measure the value of an objective advisor.
With the current large swings in the market, changing tax laws, and strained economic and political environment,
you may be overwhelmed with financial decisions.

You should seek a capable, knowledgeable advisor who will build a team to help identify your goals, create a plan,
and manage your financial affairs. Your relationship should include clear, understandable fee schedules and
consolidated services such as legal counsel, accounting, trust and estate administration, and private banking

Finally, you’ll want to benefit from the collaboration of professional specialists, including a portfolio manager and
personal administrator, to guide you through the numerous ways you can achieve your financial objectives and
empower you to make educated financial decisions based on your unique personal and financial circumstances.

The opinions and other information in the commentary are provided as of July 09, 2020. This summary is intended to provide general information only, and may be of value to the reader and audience.

This material is not a recommendation of any particular estate planning or investment strategy, is not based on any particular financial situation or need, and is not intended to replace the advice of a qualified attorney, tax advisor or investment professional. While Commerce may provide information or express opinions from time to time, such information or opinions are subject to change, are not offered as professional tax or legal advice, and may not be relied on as such.

Data contained herein from third-party providers is obtained from what are considered reliable sources. However, its accuracy, completeness or reliability cannot be guaranteed, and is subject to change.

Commerce Trust is a division of Commerce Bank.


Robert E. Whitney, Jr., CFP® Vice President, Senior Financial Planner Commerce Trust
Rob is a senior financial planner for Commerce Trust. He is a member of the financial advisory services team — a dedicated financial planning practice within Commerce Trust that provides objective financial advice to clients.

Following a thorough assessment of a client’s unique situation and thoughts regarding wealth, Rob develops holistic and coordinated plans to help clients meet their short-term and long-term goals as well as take full advantage of various planning, tax, and investment strategies along the way. With more than 20 years of experience, he specializes in building relationships with clients and providing comprehensive financial planning services to business owners and individual investors to help them achieve their goals.

He received his Bachelor of Administration degree in business finance from Loyola University in Maryland and his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Delaware. Rob holds the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification. Additionally, he is an Eagle Scout. Rob enjoys spending time in the mountains or at the beach with his wife and two daughters.

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP® and CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements