It can be challenging to know whom you can trust when it comes to choosing a Financial Adviser. There are many with varying degrees of experience, education, and specialty. There are also many fancy titles they might go by, such as; broker, insurance agent, financial planner, investment adviser representative, fiduciary, fee-only planner, etc. Now, add to that list a veritable ‘alphabet soup’ of professional designations often found after their names and, well- you get the picture.
It’s not surprising then, that often some people get so overwhelmed they simply do nothing. (Or, worse yet, rely on information found on the internet!) Still, others may take the path of least resistance and choose to work with the adviser who either had really slick marketing, an entertaining seminar presentation, or simply told them what they wanted to hear. Since this is your life savings we’re talking about here, it’s vital to make the right decision and one that’s based on more than what just meets the eye. As you would do in choosing any other professional, it’s important to identify your needs, do your homework first, (thank you, Google!) and be certain what your goals are. Then, look for one who specializes in those areas.
Here are the 12 Questions we recommend you ask every adviser before working with them. If you don’t like the answers you get- move on to the next one.
1. Why are you in this business?
2. What are your services? Do you have a specialty?
3. What types of clients do you work best with? Why do you want me as a client?
4. How much, and when, do you charge? (Fees, commissions, combination of both, etc)
5. Will you show me in writing exactly what I’m being charged?
6. Are you an Independent Adviser and a fiduciary only or are you also a broker?
7. How long have you been in business?
8. What are your credentials, licenses, etc?
9. What is your investment philosophy?
10. How do I know I can trust you? Will you provide references?
11. Why makes you different or unique? Why should I hire you?
12. What happens after I become a client?
Ultimately, choosing a Financial Adviser often comes down to how you feel. Always trust your gut and intuition and you’ll be right most of the time. You should feel a mutual trust, respect, and professionalism from your Adviser. And, you should really like him or her. After all, you’ll be spending a lot time together, over many years, working to accomplish your goals.
Call our office now at 800-215-5882, email us here, or click on this calendar link to schedule a 10-15 minute “Get Acquainted” phone call so we can find out a little more about your situation and see how we might best be of service to you. We’re happy to answer any questions you may have about us- be they 12 or 112!