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"Mary recommended funds from the family she is paid to recommend. You don't go to a Saturn dealer and expect to be shown a Toyota."

Lets carry that one step further.

If a prospective buyer talks to the commissioned car salesman, is he getting objective advice? I think the answer to this is a bit complicated, as what comes out of the salesman, if they're any good, will be gauged to their perception of the customer. The more sophistocated the customer, the more detailed and complete will be the words of the salesman. But beware the customer who goes in knowing nothing, as they are at great risk of being convinced to do something that may not be at all in their interest....or it may be entirely in their interest. Will the customer be able to tell?

Switch now to an advisor whose compensation is not linked to the sale, but is compensated only for their time. For the car analogy, this might be a transportation consultant. The advice they're given still carries a certain amount of risk (bias risk or ignorance risk), but most would agree that these risks are considerably less than the risk of buying from the commissioned salesman.

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