If you are someone who cares about money, you are likely to have many financial advisors in your life. Being broke is easy, but building wealth and security takes effort. A good advisor will provide guidance and perspective, alerting you to financial realities you may not find out about on your own. A good advisor can work like a coach, a counselor, or a manager. The best are some combination of the three, though they will vary according to your needs. If you are looking for your first real financial advisor, or if you are seeking a new one, here are 5 things to look for.
- Do You or Your Firm Sell Financial Products? First of all, check if there is a planning fee for meeting with your prospective advisor. Also, find out if he or she is in the business of selling financial products. You don’t want to deal with someone if they are in the business of anything but giving you good counsel. A Personal Financial Specialist is an example of someone who can act as comprehensive advisor to someone getting their start in focused personal finance. For those with higher income, Certified Public Accountants can be a good choice, though there are others available.
- What Kind of Clients do You Serve? What Kind of Services do You Provide? An advisor that works as an investment consultant is not going to offer you the same services as someone who offers comprehensive financial services. Mattioli Woods might offer a lot to someone with a sophisticated financial life, but be ill-fit for someone just making their start. Have a firm understanding of your means and goals before approaching financial advisors.
- What Does Your Typical Financial Plan Look Like? When you see an example of an advisor’s real financial planning, you’ll know how he or she is likely to approach your financial situation. Would you be happy with the work, as demonstrated?
- What is Your Investment Advising Style? There are many different approaches to investment management. Some advisors and managers will work to make their clients a lot of money, through frequent and risk-prone investments. Others will only work with slow-growing, dependable low-cost funds. Understand your own preference, and make sure you are selecting an advisor in keeping with these.
- How Much Attention Will You Be Giving Me? What is your prospective advisor’s client load? In choosing him or her as your advisor, will you be meeting primarily with this advisor or with others on an advisement team? How much understanding and sophistication are you, the advisee, expected to bring to the table? Make sure you feel very comfortable with the situation before signing up.
A good financial advisor can be a wonderful professional relationship that lasts for years. But make sure you pick the right one. By choosing the best advisor off the bat, your wealth will have more time and insight with which to grow. There are many other things you’ll probably want to ask your potential advisors, but these are things you should ask every prospect.