This time of year, we hear from a lot of new clients. Making good on their New Year’s resolutions, people are picking up the phone and finding new advisors or giving their financial plan a kick start. With that in mind, we thought it’d be a good idea to follow up on our post from last summer and suggest three questions you should ask when searching for a new financial advisor.
- What kind of clients do you normally work with? Some advisors specialize in working with certain types of clients (i.e., doctors, teachers, self-employed individuals) or different stages of life (i.e., young savers, college planning, retirement). Do you want to work with a “niche” advisor, or one who has a variety of different clients and specialties? Get a sense of the advisor’s practice and think about your own preferences. This will be important as you consider fit and chemistry.
- How will we work together? Beyond the initial meeting, think about how you’d like to collaborate with your advisor. Will it be primarily by phone, email, or in-person? Will you meet during business hours, or are nights and weekends possible? If the advisor isn’t comfortable with your preferred medium, or can’t accommodate your schedule, it may be hard to connect in the future.
- What is your investment philosophy? Some advisors are big investment risk-takers, while others prefer a more passive approach. There are countless investment management styles and philosophies with varying levels of risk and return. Find out where the advisor lands on the spectrum and consider whether it is consistent with your own beliefs, attitudes, and appetite for risk.
Of course, you’ll want to cover other questions as well; the advisor may have questions for you too. An open and comfortable dialogue is essential in the establishment of a healthy client/advisor relationship.