In the middle of 2020 I was still working for Google and found myself on a video call with five close friends. We had all signed up for the same retirement annuity, which we were now realising was a big mistake. Collectively, we were arriving at the painful conclusion that it would be better to exit the annuity early and lose 25% of our investment than stay in a product, with extortionately high fees, until retirement. Personally, this was one of my biggest investments, and after five years of monthly contributions instead of being up, say, 40%, I was now down 25%. It was a huge setback. I was very angry – at myself, for not knowing better, and at the trusted financial advisor who had sold me the annuity.
How did this happen? How did five of the smartest middle-aged people I know get duped into investing in a product so bad that we all decided to burn 25% of our money to get out? Well… it started with a referral: a financial advisor was recommended to one of us, he seemed like a good guy, we all individually met him, and we all signed up.
A big contributing factor for me is a lack of financial education: I was never taught how to approach big financial decisions. My job at the time was very demanding, and I didn’t have the headspace to ask the right questions, read the fine print, and research alternatives. I trusted the referred financial advisor to do his job, and moved ahead quickly, happy that I‘d acted rather than continuing to sit on my savings.
I also started thinking about how it’s even possible that an annuity like this is available on the market. Why would a financial advisor, in good conscience, be pushing such obviously flawed products? I started to become obsessed with these questions and figuring out how the industry could be better. I quickly realised my experience was not unique. There was a general – and growing – dissatisfaction and distrust in the financial services industry and financial advisors.
I also realised that it didn’t have to be this way. The solution already existed in the market, but not enough people knew about it! I started to connect with a small, passionate community of flat-fee financial advisors who operate in a fundamentally different way to traditional advisors.
A transparent, flat-fee approach solves the biggest challenge in the financial services industry: conflict of interest. Because this type of advisor is paid on a project or subscription basis, they don’t earn commission or take a percentage of your assets – so there’s no incentive to sell financial products. Their obligation is to their clients, not a financial institution, their job is to support and empower clients instead of pushing products. I only wished I’d been aware of this option 15 years ago – I would have had a far smoother ride!
Our goal at Doshguide is to make it as simple as possible for everyone to find the right flat-fee advisor that suits their unique needs. We’re excited for people to see what it feels like to work with a personal financial advisor who’s working for you, and only you.
I’d love to hear what you think of what we’ve built and how we can get even better. Feel free to get in touch at email@example.com