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Financially Illiterate Lawyers

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  • Financially Illiterate Lawyers

    There are plenty of cautionary tales about insurance salesmen and other “financial advisors” who willingly prey upon doctors, dentists, and other high income professionals. However, I would caution you that a fair number of attorneys are financially illiterate and could cause harm to you even if they don’t wish you any harm.

    I’m at my state bar’s annual education event. I’m simply shocked by the high cost, high fee, low quality products that are being pitched by vendors and speakers for attorneys and their clients. Annuities for retirement for attorneys, 1.65% asset under management fees for client trusts, and all sorts of unsuitable or ill-advised investment products. If an attorney has been spending 100+ percent of what he made every year and is in his 60’s or 70’s and not yet retirement ready, how is this person in any position to advise a client for what to do with their own funds?

    I get the argument that if someone was good at math and science they would have gone into med school instead of being an English or poli sci major and going to law school. That said, the unthinking reliance on “financial advisors” as experts and professionals for investments seems like a shocking abdication of duty.

    Sure, I’m a numbers geek with an MBA, but I’m just disgusted with some of the financial illiteracy I’ve heard in the last day and a half. Watch your wallet: no one cares as much about your money as you do.

  • #2
    I have a friend who recently graduated from a respected but not top tier law school. She wanted to move back home to another state and now working retail because she cannot find a job. I can't imagine taking out six-figures of loans to be in her situation, and yet it's unfortunately common for new law grads (though this may be an extreme example). So to echo your post I imagine there is some self-selection when it comes to financial illiteracy and law.

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    • #3
      Financial illiteracy knows no bounds. It doesn't discriminate based on sex, ethnicity, religion, etc. There's a lot more financially illiterate people than financially literate people in this country. Look at our deficits and budgets, even the leaders we elect are financially illiterate.

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      • #4
        If you make a lot of money, real or perceived, someone will pitch you junk. If I was unethical or turned a blind eye to reality, I'd hawk the same junk to high income professionals. More $$$ for me! Plus, who is going to pay for those yearly birthday cards to my clients???

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        • #5




          If you make a lot of money, real or perceived, someone will pitch you junk. If I was unethical or turned a blind eye to reality, I’d hawk the same junk to high income professionals. More $$$ for me! Plus, who is going to pay for those yearly birthday cards to my clients???
          Click to expand...


          You're not wrong, but you don't need to make a lot of money.  Everyone is pitched junk.  Junk is profitable to the pitcher.  They will sell it to anyone they can. People with more modest incomes are not exempt.   There are entire industries (i.e. pay-day loans, for profit universities) that pitch junk to the poor.  Unfortunately, that's just the way the world is.

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