Five questions to ask your current Financial Advisor or any advisor you are considering
There can be several benefits to working with a Financial Advisor when it comes to your money and investments. For those of you who are “going it alone” and don’t have an advisor, I have a question for you: If you were going to fly an airplane, would you simply read some articles on the internet and talk to a few friends for their opinions prior to flying the plane? Or would you want the services of a professional pilot who has the proper training and experience? The answer is obvious, especially since your life would be at stake.
When it comes to your financial future, this can be equally as important. Where your money is invested and the reasons for each investment can be vital to the quality of life and happiness you will have for the rest of your life. Just like the airplane example, the services of a professional can be the difference between success and failure.
Think about your field of expertise where you work. Whether you own a business or have a job, you likely have years of training and experience that give you an advantage over a person who has read some articles about your industry on the internet. There is no substitute for the proper training and experience over the course of time.
Not all advisors are equal, and neither are the results they produce. Some people don’t realize this. Let’s think about it in terms of this example: There is a reason why people will travel to other states or even across the country to visit a different doctor. This is because different doctors and medical professionals produce different results. Sometimes these results can be a matter of life and death. This is the same with financial advisors. Different advisors produce different results, which can be the difference between success and failure for your financial future. Unfortunately, a number of people discovered this the hard way back in 2001 and 2008.
Here are five questions to ask your current Financial Advisor or any advisor you are considering. If you have been handling your own investments, then you can ask yourself these important questions.
- Is the advisor a fiduciary, for which they are trained and obligated to always act in your best interests? Unfortunately, in the financial services industry, not everyone is a fiduciary. Many commission brokers who work for firms that primarily promote stocks, bonds, and mutual funds are often not obligated to act in your best interests. They just have to do what is suitable. There is a big difference between the two. That’s why they may encourage you to continue to hold on to your stock investments when the market is way down.
- Is the advisor licensed for securities?If a person is not licensed for securities, they will be limited to the advice that they can legally give you regarding any stock investments. If a person doesn’t have any securities training, how can they truly give you a perspective based on the stock market? Even if you don’t want to invest in the stock market, there can be several benefits to working with a professional who has this training and experience.
- Is the advisor licensed for multiple types of insurance?If a person isn’t licensed for different types of insurance, they’ll be further limited to the type of planning they can offer. I’ve heard from several people who said their former advisor didn’t handle insurance and only did investments. This is a pretty good indication that they were working with a commission broker — which used to be called a stockbroker — and not a full financial planner. Notice that I used the word “former,” as many of them fired their commission broker advisor and hired me and my firm to help them with a real plan.
- Is the advisor a published author of articles in newspapers, magazines, or books? It can provide great insight to you when an advisor puts his investment philosophy and planning strategies in writing. This allows you to be able to read and learn about how they’ve been able to help others — and potentially help you. In today’s information age, if a person doesn’t have any articles published, this should raise some red flags.
- Is the advisor a true educator?There are several ways in which advisors can teach in today’s world with all of the technology and different venues to choose from. You want to know what live educational events they have had. Also, find out about any online education they provide. There is no excuse for an advisor to not have educational material that they have produced to inform the public if they are truly trying to help others.
I highly recommend that you ask all these questions of your current Financial Advisor or of any advisor you are considering. Find out if they are a fiduciary and obligated to always act in your best interests. Ask them if they are both licensed for securities and different types of insurance. Ask to see their published articles in print. And find out about their online or in- person educational events.
Full Disclosure: Here are MY answers to the questions listed above that you should ask every advisor.
Question 1: I am a Fiduciary, which means I am trained to always act in my client’s best interests in everything I do.
Questions 2 & 3: I am licensed for both securities and multiple types of insurance, so I can help my clients have a “balanced plan” based on their true goals. This can include a mix of stocks, bonds, and mutual funds, along with insurance and annuities, and even other investment options.
Question 4: I am the co-author of the best-selling book titled “The Road to Success” that I co-wrote with several industry professionals and Jack Canfield, best-selling author of “Chicken Soup for the Soul.” I have also written articles for financial industry publications through which I can help to educate other financial professionals about best practices in financial planning.
Question 5: I have hosted and taught financial educational events at universities and libraries on the topics of investments, asset protection, and financial planning.
I enjoy helping people accomplish their important life goals and financial objectives. I feel very strongly that continuous education is vital to be able to offer my clients the very best in financial planning and investments. This is why I attend a number of investment conferences and financial meetings every year.
When it’s all said and done, you want to be able to enjoy a great retirement with your family and friends. This might include some travel, spending more time with the kids and grandkids, and giving more money to charity. This helps come from knowing that you have a real plan in place for your financial future.
For more information or to schedule a meeting, please contact our office.