Many clients searching for a financial advisor aren’t certain what should be reviewed and discussed at their first meeting. The approach taken by financial advisors varies widely and is not always well structured. The main goal is for you and the prospective advisor to determine if there’s a good fit for working with each other now and well into the future.
Answering the following seven questions should go a long way toward determining if the prospective advisor is the right person to help you achieve your financial vision:
- How well does the advisor’s expertise, experience and professional network line up with your current and anticipated future financial situation? It is beneficial to you if the advisor can bring you the expertise and experience of working with other clients who are similar to you.
- Does the advisor have a documented process that he or she uses in working with clients? Ask them to show it to you and explain it.
- What documents were you asked to bring to the meeting? Did they ask only for investment statements, or were you asked to supply other documents including wills, insurance policies, tax returns and benefits statements? This is a good indicator of the scope of work that they plan to do with you.
- All financial advisors work with investments, but how will the advisor work with you on non-investment related financial subjects such as retirement planning and projections, Social Security benefits planning, college education funding and mortgage financing? Ask the advisor for specific examples of how he or she helps clients in these areas.
- Does the advisor’s approach to giving advice and working with clients align with your expectations and how you would like to work together? Make sure that you understand the number and kinds of meetings you will have with the advisor each year, what will be discussed and covered in each meeting, how your progress in various areas is tracked, and how often and under what circumstances you would like to receive a proactive call from the advisor.
- Does the advisor have designations or certifications that set ethical and competency standards related to the advice you are seeking? Certain advisors have more strict ethical and disclosure standards and mandates in addition to ongoing continuing professional education requirements.
- Will working with the advisor have a meaningful impact on your financial life? Picking the right financial advisor is not the same as picking a spouse but can have the same long term effects on your happiness for years to come. Consider carefully your answers to the above questions to decide if the advisor is the right one to help you achieve your financial vision.
Ultimately the financial advisor you choose needs to be a good fit for the long haul. Give us a call and let’s talk about how, together, we can make your life’s journey richer.