Before you commit to hiring a financial advisor, it’s important that you ask the right questions. You’ll be working with this professional to achieve your financial goals—whatever they may be. You’ll want to feel confident that they’ll be able to guide you through important decisions and work with your best interest in mind. It’s crucial to be aware of their credentials, experience and knowledge.
Asking these nine questions will give you a good idea if they’re someone you’d be interested in working with.
1. Are you a fiduciary?
A fiduciary works in the best interest of their client and puts their needs first. Non-fiduciary advisors may be selling their firm’s products/services to earn commission, which could skew their recommendations away from what fits you best.
2. Do you hold any industry certifications?
There’s a wide range of certifications financial advisors can hold. It’s important to understand the background of the person you could potentially be working with.
3. How are you compensated for your services?
Financial advisors are compensated differently depending on the firm they work for. Whether it be an hourly or a flat fee, this is always a good question to ask so you know what to expect.
4. What is your investment philosophy?
An investment philosophy will usually determine how your money will be handled. While one advisor might focus on long-term investing in a globally diversified portfolio and may encourage choosing only low-cost exchange-traded funds, another advisor might have an entirely different philosophy. Asking this will make sure you’re both on the same page.
5. Is there a niche that you work with?
Everyone has different needs from their financial advisor. Make sure you’re working with someone who specializes in the area(s) you’re focusing on.
6. Do you have any account or relationship minimums?
Depending on your portfolio size, some advisors might be a better fit than others.
7. How often will we meet?
While this is pretty straightforward, it’s important for you and your advisor to be on the same page in regard to how often you’ll meet—whether that be annually, semi-annually or quarterly.
8. How will I hear from you?
You may have a preference of how you’d like to communicate, whether it be phone, email, video conference or in-person. Most advisors are more than happy to communicate with you in whichever method you prefer, just let them know!
9. Do you have any references?
Similar to looking for a job candidate, when you’re looking to find the perfect advisor you’ll want to know what others who have previously worked with them have to say.
While you should do your research ahead of time and use search tools to look into someone you’re going to potentially work with, it’s still good to get this information from the advisor themselves and make sure they’re transparent and truthful.
At the end of the day, you’re creating a relationship. If hired, you’ll be trusting this professional with your financial future. This means you’ll want to be certain that this is the right advisor for you. Asking these questions may be a little uncomfortable, but having a clear understanding of an advisor’s expectations, qualifications and philosophies will be beneficial to both of you in the long run.