Here are the right questions to ask so you know what’s going on behind the scenes
If the topic of wealth feels like something that’s “too confusing” to learn and you currently have a financial advisor, have you ever wondered why they haven’t helped you understand the subject better? Many people see the buzzword “wealth management” as intimidating and something that should be passed off to someone who calls themselves an advisor. What is less frequently advertised is that there are true advisors who are experts in their field – however, there are also salespeople who happen to have the words “financial advisor” on their business card. If you’re reading this and saying to yourself, “I don’t like that – how can I tell the difference?”, you’ve come to the right place. Choosing a financial advisor is more than simply giving all your money to a friend of a friend, that bank down the street, or some guy with a local TV commercial. The choice is one that can make a massive impact and show you how to reach your goals – or a mistake that can diminish your wealth. We’ve compiled a list of questions to get to the heart of how advisors run their business – and whether or not they’re just trying to make another sale:
- What is your experience in the field, and what are your credentials and certifications?
- How are you compensated? Is it in line with my expectations?
- How often are my investments reviewed and evaluated? Are trades only placed when we meet annually, and if so, why is that the best time to change investments?
- What is your investment philosophy?
- How do you ensure my investments match my risk profile?
- Do you offer TRUE financial/wealth planning that encompasses tax planning, risk management, asset protection, trust services, real estate, and portfolio management?
- Is this a sales presentation?
- Are your investments proprietary or restricted?
- Does your home office tell you what to sell?
Beyond the answers to the questions above, the person who handles your finances should be someone you trust and feel comfortable with. After all, the subject of money is one of the most personal, and the ability to have honest and open dialogue with any advisor will make your experience worlds better. This decision is not one to take lightly, so it’s recommended that you meet with several firms to find the place that’s right for you and your goals.