December 17, 2020Money Financial literacy Women & wealth
How to Choose a Financial Advisor
This topic came up during a recent conversation I had with a colleague, and it got me thinking. I know you may be thinking that my view on this may be a bit biased considering I am a financial advisor, but I’m leaning in on my experience over the past decade or so, and this is what I came up with. The great Ray Dalio is a huge proponent for defining your own principles, and not only that, writing them down. So taking a page out of his very successful book, here is what I believe to be a few key principles in choosing the right financial advisor for you and your family.
Curious to hear your thoughts on this and any feedback you may have! Feel free to send me a message here, after you’ve had a chance to read.
I applaud those who are stewards of their own wealth and do a tremendous job at that. There are some very valid reasons, however, as to why it would make sense to collaborate with a financial advisor – it never hurts to have a second opinion, free-up your time to focus on other things that matter to you, and reduce stress, to name a few.
In my experience, the best advisor/client relationships are dependent on a few key things:
1. Does your advisor truly understand, I mean truly understand you – your goals, values, and priorities – as it pertains to you and your family? To add to that, does your advisor care about those goals, values, and priorities? You see, although this is a “business relationship”, it is still very much a personal one. An advisor who understands you, can make decisions on your behalf that are appropriate to you, and that you will be happy with. Moreover, as this could and should be a life-long relationship, you should have a positive and productive relationship from the start, with a person whom you and your family feel very comfortable with.
2. Adding to the above – does your advisor attempt to integrate your spouse, children, and entire family to the wealth planning initiatives? In my experience, there is normally one key person in the household that manages the financial affairs – and this poses a great risk, in my opinion. I believe all members affected by the family’s financial plan should be aware of it in some capacity – even if it is just to the extent that they are aware that there is a plan, the key advisors to contact, and the values and principles upon which that plan was formulated. I believe this will ensure the continuity of the plan, should someone else in the household need to take over.
3. Have you been offered a financial plan? I would consider a financial plan to be the roadmap for financial success. After all, I doubt you would want a doctor to diagnose you without doing a full medical examination or at least asking you some detailed questions about your current situation. The same principles apply here. There should also be a plan – a clear guideline of goals, expectations, and action items – to fulfill your family’s financial needs.
Experience and access to information. Does your advisor possess the level of knowledge and experience to fulfill the needs of your financial plan? Does your advisor have access to other wealth partners that you may need to integrate from time to time, and access to good information/research to implement into your financial strategy?
4. How often does, or will, your advisor contact you during the year to re-ensure your comfort-level with the financial plan and the decisions made as a result of it? Part of the process of financial planning is monitoring success, and whether any changes are needed in our approach.
These are just a few things that, in my experience, are very important items to consider when assessing or choosing the right financial advisor for you and your family.
Again, I welcome feedback, questions, or comments and love sharing dialogue about things like this! Feel free to reach out to me.