Questions to ask your financial planner

With many options in the financial planner marketplace, choosing one person to help with your financial investments can be a complicated process. Not all advisors come with the same level of expertise of qualifications, legal safeguards, fee structures, or types of services. Before you hire a professional to help you plan your financial future, here are five questions you to ask to help you decide who is the best person for the job.

1. What are the services you offer?

Not all advisors offer the same services. It’s important to ask if they are capable of doing all the things that you need. Depending on what you are looking for, one financial planner will likely be more qualified than another. Do you need tax advice? Help creating a savings plans, managing your stock portfolio or someone that can help you get out of debt.

Whatever it is you need, be sure your financial advisor can handle everything or works with other professionals who can work in tandem to ensure your goals are being met. Many financial investors work in teams that focuson on a particular product or goal set, Financial Advisors of the David Barcomb Group, based out of Boston Massachusetts are well-respected for their expertise in high net worth individuals.

2. What kinds of certifications do you hold?

Advisors need to meet many qualifications. Check out their background ask for references and do your due diligence. These people will have access to your more private financial details. It is better to know who you are working with at all times. Ask to see a copy of their resume, check them out on linkedIn, see where they went to college and ask to see certifications and diplomas.

Depending on the type of financial planner you choose to employ, they will hold a variety of certifications and diplomas.

3. Can I talk to some of your current clients?

Check references. Ask your financial advisors if they have clients you could speak with. Ideally, try to speak with someone who has similar goals and concerns as you. Ask them about their interaction with the financial advisor. How often do they communicate? Is it always in person? What do they like or dislike about the services, and be sure to ask why they are working with this advisor in particular.

Be sure to meet with the advisor in person to get your own feel for them and to see who they handle being asked direct questions. Ask the financial advisor to provide you with a presentation of their services. Once you’ve interviewed a couple that you are satisfied with, check their standing with the regulatory boards and make the decision based on what is best for your situation.

4. What is your performance record?

Any potential advisor should provide an example of how they’ve managed their clients of varying levels of risk tolerance through the good and bad times. Do a background check to ensure that the advisor has not been involved in any disciplinary proceedings, ethical challenges or committed any fraud, such as misrepresentation, excessively trading securities, or been involved in any formal legal action or client disputes. If an advisor has been disciplined for any behavior, it will appear on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) BrokerCheck site.

5. How are you paid?

While advisors are typically paid for their services by fee-based and commission based, it can vary.

A fee-only payment structure can include hourly, retainer, by project or another fee that is based on the percentage of assets being managed. Typically fees based on assets under management is 2% but be sure to confirm this with your advisor. Fee-only advisors do not earn commissions for selling investments to clients.

Others earn a commission on the securities and financial products they sell. There can also be a transaction fee associated with this type of product.

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