Happy New Year! As one of your New Year’s Resolutions you’ve finally decided it’s time to meet with a financial advisor and scheduled a consultation. You’ve entered the office and you’re sitting in front of them.
Meeting with an advisor can feel overwhelming. Talking about money can be difficult because we’re conditioned to believe money and finances are a private matter. And since many of us have been told from the cradle that we shouldn’t talk about money, we don’t know how to ask questions, much less the right questions. So, when we finally work up the courage to talk to a financial advisor, we don’t really know where to begin.
Here are five simple questions you can ask an advisor to get you started:
1. Are you a fiduciary? What is a fiduciary? Why is that important?
A fiduciary is someone that must put their clients’ interests ahead of their own. A fiduciary has a legal obligation to act in your best interest. As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner, I am bound to act as a fiduciary while acting in an advisory capacity for my clients when it comes to managing their money.
So, what exactly does this mean? It means that it is my obligation to seek out financial solutions that work for my clients. That means only selecting products that are in my clients’ best interest.
2. How are you paid?
How someone gets paid (and who pays them) can be a very telling indicator. There needs to be transparency about how you pay any trusted professional.
When a client asks me how I get paid, I explain that I am primarily a fee-based financial advisor. This means that I am paid a fee based upon the amount of assets that I manage on their behalf, or a flat fee.
Why is this important? Well, as an advisory fiduciary I avoid high-commission products. I am product agnostic. I am not here to sell you a product. I am here to find options that work in your best interest that help you achieve your financial goals.
3. What are your qualifications?
Financial advisors are proud of their credentials. Many proudly list an alphabet soup of acronyms after their name on their website or their business card.
Each of these designations come with their own requirements and distinguish a specialty that different advisors have. I am proud of my CFP® designation because not only did it require testing, but it also requires continuing education after the designation is earned. (I also have the designations CLU®, ChFC®, and CASL®.)
I’m very proud of my nearly 30 years of industry experience serving clients not just in Maryland but throughout the United States. Experience is always a powerful validator!
4. I already have a CPA and an estate attorney, why do I need you?
This is my favorite question to hear from a potential client.
The truth is most clients we work with already have relationships with other trusted advisors. I honestly believe that my job is all about coordination. Clients deserve a financial quarterback that is sitting on the same side of the table as them. Having financial work done and having it done well, and in a concerted and strategic manner, can help clients pursue their personal vision of success.
At the end of the day, you deserve a team of experts in your corner.
5. How do I get started?
Developing a financial plan can feel overwhelming. That’s why my team has created a process to develop a custom financial strategy for long-term success for each of our clients.
From the first meeting, we establish a confidential rapport with our clients. We find out about their other trusted advisors, and we work to build a cohesive and coordinated strategy for success.
We begin by asking a lot of questions and have them complete a financial fact finder packet. We want to learn about our clients’ financial lives, their goals and discover how we can help. Our team wants to learn about their family, their job, what they do for fun, and what their long-term plans are.
Yes, developing a financial strategy is about data, but it’s also about understanding clients as people.
The average person goes to a financial professional when their life has reached a financial crossroad. But the truth is, the best clients come to us before life reaches that crossroad.
A Tenured Financial Planner Near You.
In case you are wondering "How can I find a financial planner near me," Phronesis Wealth Management is conveniently located just outside of Annapolis in Severna Park in the Benfield Tower office complex. Call our office for a complimentary financial consultation, or use our online appointment scheduler to book a 15-minute introductory phone or Zoom meeting.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.