Financial Travel Agents

The travel industry has experienced major changes since the birth of the internet.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics the number of travel agents is expected to decline by 12% to 72,000 by 2026.[1]

Companies like Booking.com, Trivago, Expedia and Kayak have filled this void as individuals book and schedule their own trips without leaving their couch.

With an abundance of travel websites now available do you need a travel agent?  It depends on your trip, of course. If you’re booking a flight from Austin to Denver, you probably don’t need to use one. Reserving a hotel room for a night in San Diego probably doesn’t require one either. However, if you’re traveling through several countries by land, sea and air, then working with a travel agent is recommended.  Your agent can navigate you through airports, customs, and hotels.

Travel agents enhance the trip experience by tapping into their resources and knowledge to deliver superior services for their clients. A travel agent can be called on to design a once in a lifetime trip for you and those you love. The goal of the travel agent is to deliver a hassle-free trip within your budget. The plan is for your trip to go off without a hitch or delays.

The investment industry, like the travel industry, has endured major changes because of the internet. The rise of discount firms, robo-advisors, and online calculators have changed the landscape in the investment world. Firms like T.D. Ameritrade, Fidelity, and Vanguard have diverted billions of assets away from old-line Wall Street firms like Merrill Lynch, UBS and Morgan Stanley. Online firms have made it easy for individual investors to point, click, and trade without guidance or input from a professional.

Unlike the travel industry, the number of personal financial advisors is expected to rise 15% per year by 2026, to over 312,000.[2]  According to the CFP board there are currently 81,000 Certified Financial Planners, about 25% of the advisor population.  If you want to improve your investment understanding, work with a financial planner who’s also a registered investment advisor and a fiduciary.

A financial planner can expand their client’s investment horizon by designing, allocating, and managing an investment portfolio based on their financial goals. He can also assist them with retirement, education, and philanthropic planning, to name a few.

A written financial plan is a representation of their client’s hopes, dreams and fears. A good planner will make sure their goals, risk tolerance, and investments are aligned. It’s the alignment that improves the investment outlook for the client.

Does everyone need a financial planner? Like the travel agent, it depends. There are circumstances when the individual investor doesn’t need the expertise of a planner. If she wants to buy an individual stock or a mutual fund, she can do this with the click of a mouse – no guidance required. But if she wants input on how much money she’ll need for retirement, how to pay for her daughter’s education, or create a budget, then a financial planner can be a tremendous resource.

The role of a planner goes beyond financial advice. When stocks gyrate violently, and portfolio values swoon, he can provide emotional support. With a financial plan, he can direct his clients through the market turmoil by having them focus on their goals. He can also stress test their portfolio and review their asset allocation. Often the market turbulence is nothing more than a minor distraction on the road to having the client reach their goals.

As you embark on your monetary journey, look to a Certified Financial Planner to guide you to your financial destination.

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So, throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” ~ Mark Twain

May 17, 2018

Bill Parrott is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management firm located in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process.

Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk.

[1] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/travel-agents.htm

[2] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/business-and-financial/personal-financial-advisors.htm

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