Mission: Why We Are Here

Rationale for the Center

Over the past several decades, U.S. workers have experienced a significant shift away from defined benefit pension plans to defined contribution plans (such as 401k and 403b plans). With this shift to defined contribution plans, individual workers and retirees are now responsible for ensuring their own financial security. Meanwhile, the number and complexity of financial services and products available to individuals has greatly expanded. Today, many individuals need guidance to help chart an appropriate path for financial security.

There are many people – financial advisors and consultants – who are eager to help the individual. Unfortunately, many financial advisors have relatively little training in finance, since much of company training is in sales rather than finance. As a result, some of the financial advice is based on erroneous concepts.

Individuals seeking good financial guidance encounter another problem – almost all financial advisors have some level of inherent conflict of interest. Many of the advisors are insurance agents, brokerage representatives, or commercial bankers whose compensation is linked, explicitly or implicitly, to the level of product sales achieved by the parent firm. Likewise, many independent financial advisors receive commissions on the products they sell.

As a result of these two factors – a deficiency in financial expertise and bias from conflict of interest – many individuals are receiving financial advice that may be injurious to their financial well-being.

The Iowa Center for Wealth Management was created to help remedy this situation. The Center draws upon the knowledge base at the University of Iowa to provide professional, unbiased guidance to individuals who wish to understand the principles of personal finance and how to apply those principles to their individual circumstances. Neither the Center nor its directors have any direct interest in any financial services firm or product.