Can you solve the riddle of the fishing rods?

First published on 01 of September 2015 • Updated 25 of July 2017

Three fishermen, three rods, three price tags, but only one answer. Go on, take the bait.

fishing_cost of advice2

*Ding*. The bell rings above the door of Hartley’s Fly Fishing Supplies. Three men enter, all equally determined to win this year’s Lower Kimbleton angling tournament. The first, Andrew, makes a beeline for the most expensive rod on display, buys it and walks out again, brimming with confidence. The second, Brian, chooses a slightly cheaper rod, but to gain an edge over Andrew he also buys a book: Teach Yourself Fishing. He goes home, fully expecting to win the big cash prize.

Craig, the third man, spends more time in the shop. He knows he’s no fishing expert, so eventually he asks the man behind the counter to recommend a rod. Old James Hartley peers over his spectacles and asks Craig some questions: where is he fishing? What kind of fish is he after? How much experience does he have? Eventually the shopkeeper reaches into a corner that neither Andrew nor Brian noticed, to offer Craig a very different rod, plus a selection of the best lures and a few tips on how to use them. Meanwhile Craig spies a sign by the counter: Fishing taught here.

After buying his rod, lures and his course of five fishing lessons, Craig ends up spending slightly more than Andrew or Brian. But the riddle is: which man spent the least?

The true cost of advice

The answer is Craig, of course.

Craig ended up spending the least overall because he won the Lower Kimbleton angling tournament, nabbing a cash prize that more than paid for the rod, lures and lessons, plus a round of drinks to console his runner-up friends. Not such a difficult riddle, was it?

As our fishermen found out, the true cost of something isn’t always on the price tag. Craig won because of the advice he received, so the true price he paid was actually negative: he made an overall profit. The same principle applies to the cost of financial advice.

Coincidentally, Craig has also been consulting a financial adviser about boosting his pension for when he retires in 10 years’ time. He paid around £1,000 for advice on transferring a £40,000 pension with guaranteed annuity rates, but expects to benefit by more than this amount in the first year of his retirement alone. He’s right – those who take independent advice a decade before they retire gain on average an additional income of £3,654 every year of their retirement*.

Would you let a catch like that get away? Hook your financial adviser today.



*Value of Advice report by and AXA Life Invest