Is Your Financial Adviser The Right Fit For You?
How do you know if your financial advisor has what it takes to guide you in making the right financial decisions for you and your family? Whether you are already working with an advisor or are on the search for one, here are a few things to consider:
Is your financial advisor willing to spend time with you and your family to discuss your individual circumstances, wishes and concerns? Your advisor should be engaging you in thought provoking questions to get to know you and how they can help. Be wary of an advisor who seems to have a one size fits all presentation. There is no standard answer for everyone. When it comes to making financial decisions, you should work with someone who is willing to individualize their recommendations based on your specific circumstances.
Your advisor should be adding value by listening, giving you guidance, and sharing their knowledge. A financial professional who comes to meet with you only to play an audio recording of a PowerPoint presentation is definitely a red flag. If they can’t tell you how they can help or what they can do for you, how are you possibly expected to trust them to guide you in making complex and important financial decisions? Look for an advisor that can explain what your issues are and how they are positioned to help you. This should involve interactive conversations that address your specific situation.
How serious are they about being a financial advisor? Look for a someone that has invested time in expanding their knowledge and education. There are many designations available for advisors to learn and grow in their understanding of financial concepts and products. How often are they attending educational events for growth and development? An advisor that is not willing to invest their time in expanding their knowledge may not be the best choice. When an advisor has a designation, whether it be a CLU, ChFC, CDFA, RICP or CFP, then you know they are serious about their profession. This shouldn’t be the only criteria with which to choose an advisor, but it does demonstrate a level of commitment to their career and to helping you.
Are they a one trick pony? There are financial advisors who specialize in helping in specific areas, like retirement, estate planning and investments. While these areas are important, it isn’t the only issue you should be addressing. Working with someone who only specializes in one area may lead to many uncoordinated and inefficient plans. Since there are many financial decisions you will have to make throughout your lifetime, look for an advisor who can help you address all your financial issues, not just one. If they need a specialist, they will recommend one to address a specific area of concern. But in order to fulfill on your full financial potential, you need a professional that can look at the whole picture. Remember, 1/3 of a strategy is not enough!
*For informational purposes only. The views expressed are those of the author only and do not necessarily reflect those of Penn Mutual or its affiliates.