For instance, if you're a business owner and you have a lot of complex issues, you wouldn't want someone who has never worked with a business owner before. … Likewise, if you're relatively simple — half a million dollars in your 401(k), you need an asset allocation model, some general advice — you probably don't want the adviser that works with all business owners because they charge for all kinds of things that you are never going to use.
Last year, the CFB Board strengthened its ethics curriculum and recently hired a director of investigations. Can you elaborate on those moves?
They are very serious about their mission to protect and serve the public and to do that by making sure that CFP practitioners are well-educated. Now that there are 65,000 of them and growing, [board members] wanted to make sure they had the manpower to enforce adherence to the fiduciary standards and all the other things. Their holy grail is to make sure that [the CFP] mark is meaningful to the public and to the industry.
What would you advise the Mega Millions winner?
I thought you would suggest taking the lump sum.
Before you take a lump sum, it's not as much a math decision as it is a personality decision. When I have people come to me and they have the option of taking a pension as a lump sum when retiring, the first questions I ask: "Did you save any money in your 401(k)? Do you have credit card balances?" And if the answer is, "No, I haven't any money in my 401(k), and yes, I have credit card balances," then I just say, "Stop there and take the pension. Because your relationship with money hasn't historically been very good. And my experience has been that it's probably not going to change when you get a lump sum. … In fact, it will make it worse."