Financial Planning – Why Local Can Matter

In our ever-changing, technologically advancing world, the value of the proper investment and financial planning remains a field where a dedicated local planner can make a bigger difference than many appreciate.

Illusion of Support

Having a dedicated financial planner that you know, and trust can be the difference between your success and failure. Non-professional financial planners and Robo Solutions can seemingly check off multiple boxes; however, a personal relationship can make a world of difference. Below are three examples:


The adage of “trust takes time to build and a second to lose” cannot be truer regarding the local support system your financial planner can provide.

In dealing with your financial stability (and long-term security), the addition of human intuition and creativity puts local practitioners a step ahead of most other planning solutions.

Capabilities and People: The Best of Both Worlds

Would love to deal locally but worried about missing out on capabilities at a large Wall Street firm? Bigger doesn’t always mean better, as long as one can hire industry leading professionals and remain at the forefront of technological advancements, yielding a better experience and better levels of security. This can all be done at a larger, independent local firm.

Behavioral Finance

There are many solutions for an investment portfolio and even more good-looking forms of software that seem to give an advanced retirement/financial plan.

Even with taxes, the illusion of proper planning is out there. The question is, do these automated computer programs have the potential to serve clients’ needs?

Having lived alongside clients, local planners can specify the areas of value not met by nonhuman Robo solutions when compared to a human presence.

Perhaps the most significant example is found in an ongoing JP Morgan study on how people actually perform in their investment portfolios compared to what they are invested in.

Sounding odd on the surface, many people who invest in items such as stocks and bonds tend to underperform when compared to how their stocks and bonds actually do during the same time frames.

This is because of unpredictable emotions and markets, and data shows that investors underperform by roughly 4% compared to what they should earn given their investment portfolios.

This is a huge gap, meaning many, many years of difference in retirement age over a lifetime all because they didn’t have an advocate to help guide them.

Solution: Personalized Financial Planning

For all these reasons above, it is best to find a competent professional in the vicinity of where you live. Having someone that can communicate well with you is extremely helpful in maintaining strategy throughout the years. Not only that, it is a huge key to successfully achieving your financial goals.

Developing a relationship with a person, or even a team of people, provides a support system of trust during these tumultuous times.

Compare this to a computer sending you an email to “hang in there,” which may not even happen. It’s not hard to see why clients prefer a hands-on approach to financial planning and portfolio management.

What About Outside New York?

Another common question is whether local firms around the country can truly be competitive with firms on Wall Street. The answer is YES. Many firms maintain the same services of these firms while maintaining the ethics and values of local culture without giving up any capability.

So, why does local matter? Simply put, it’s because of the genuine human connection stemming from the individual relationship clients enjoy with their advisors.

Would you rather press one for more options or have the personal number of your representative? Most people prefer the latter.

Mark Berger

Mark Berger is the Principal of Berger Financial Group – a full-service financial firm located in Minnesota. As an IRS Enrolled Agent for advanced tax planning knowledge, along with being a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and an Economist, Mark’s credentials along with more than two decades of experience have helped him guide many clients in the retirement process both in the Midwest and outside of it. Mark was ranked the #1 Independent Financial Planner in the country under 40 for 2015 [Ranking by Rep. magazine/].