- Getting Ready to Retire?
- Looking for a Better Match with a Financial Advisor Who Will Meet Your Needs?
- Beginning to Build Your Investment Portfolio?
You should make sure you know the answers to these questions before you take the next step.
1. What are your designations, training, and experience? Whether you are looking for a “stock jockey” or someone with a financial planning designation and/or everything in between depends on what your needs are. Make sure that the advisor is appropriately educated and certified by the industry oversight entities.
2. Do you have access to expertise on tax issues? It is not what you make, but what you keep. That is why an affiliation with a CPA firm, either directly or indirectly, can be a major benefit.
3. Can you make independent decisions? Some firms are tied to one investment or insurance company. This doesn’t mean that they cannot make independent decisions; but at times they may be narrowly focused on just what their company can offer. An independent advisor with access to the many investment or insurance choices in the market can better match you with what fits your plan.
4. How are you compensated? Generally speaking, if a financial professional is selling a mutual fund or product only, then their compensation is commission based. Other advisors are compensated by charging a quarterly fee on the assets that they manage. Many advisors can do either. It is important to know this so that you are comfortable with the arrangement, but not as important as knowing that you are in the hands of someone who is focused on moving you toward your financial success regardless of type of compensation.
5. Who is your typical client? Although every client has unique needs, it is important to know that the advisor has helped people and/or businesses like yours in the past. This shows familiarity with some of the issues for which you may need advice.
Let me know if you have any assistance.
by Ronald Donato, Jr., CFP®, MBA
Director of Financial Services