There are many reasons why I’ve felt good about providing information and insights to independent advisors for the past 30 years or so. Back in the day, when most independents started their careers as either stockbrokers or insurance agents, I used to point out that they could be making more money (usually a lot more) if they’d have stayed with those big firms, but they started their own businesses to better serve their clients.
Today, thanks to the (also) 30-year trend toward replacing commissions with asset management fees, that’s not so true any more: many independent firms generate very healthy cash flows—and are worth upwards of seven figures when their founders retire. Yet there are solid reasons why I still feel good about helping independents in my small way. Because they are small, wholly owned businesses (as opposed to large corporations with shareholders to please), they can make judgments such as “this is enough profit, it’s a fair price, and we don’t need to make more.”