3 Reasons to Ignore Celebrity Financial Services Endorsements

Don't let distractions get in the way of your plan.

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Here in Chicago, Mike Ditka (Da Coach) is hawking indexed annuities. Tommy Lee Jones is a spokesperson for Ameriprise Financial on TV. Even Aaron Rogers, quarterback of my beloved Green Bay Packers, is doing an insurance commercial.

A celebrity endorsement of any product or service is a poor reason to use it in my opinion.  However, buying the wrong brand of potato chips carries far less downside risk than entrusting your retirement nest egg to the wrong adviser or firm. Here are some reasons to ignore celebrity endorsers in the financial services arena.

Many celebrities and athletes have a long track record of making bad financial choices. A recent example is the Jets backup quarterback Mark Brunell, who has reportedly earned some $50 million over the course of his career but is currently involved in a filing for bankruptcy.  Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is another notable example.

One has to wonder if people making this kind of money are really users of the products they are hawking. I have my doubts whether Tommy Lee Jones really has his money with Ameriprise, or if Mike Ditka really owns an indexed annuity. In their defense, neither claims to use these products or firms in the commercials.

Not all financial and investment products are right for everyone. All of us have different financial situations, different goals, different tolerances for risk, and different time horizons.  This is not a place where one size fits all.

An adviser who is the right fit for your neighbor may not be the right fit for you. Every investor’s situation is different. Picking the right adviser involves research and asking many questions.

All investors should take a look at their unique needs and their own financial situation and proceed from there. Once you’ve identified your needs and your financial strategy, then it is time to go ahead with the implementation via firms and financial instruments that are right for your unique situation. Do what’s right for you and your family and ignore Da Coach and other paid spokespeople.

Roger Wohlner, CFP®, is a fee-only financial adviser at Asset Strategy Consultants based in Arlington Heights, Ill., where he provides advice to individual clients, retirement plan sponsors, foundations, and endowments. He recently cofounded Retirement Fiduciary Advisors to provide direct investment and retirement planning advice to 401(k) plan participants. Follow Roger on Twitter and LinkedIn. Roger also blogs at Chicago Financial Planner.