Find The RIGHT Financial Advisor For You
Can you go it alone? Absolutely. But you need knowledge, skills and confidence to give your money (or lack thereof) the time and attention it deserves. It’s not difficult to manage your personal finances but it does require patience, commitment and good judgement.
Money can be a blessing or a curse depending upon what you do with it or how you handle it. Some people, celebrities included, have made fortunes and subsequently lost them. Many of these unfortunate situations were entirely preventable. A trusted advisor can make a big difference and help keep you on track with your money.
Know What You Want/Need and Don’t Want/Need
Do some thinking before you pick up the phone or fire off an email to a prospective advisor. First, consider what you want/don’t want in life- having some goals or knowing what you want your life to look like is a must do first step. Your ideas may change over time, but starting the thinking process is what matters most. Second, ask yourself what you want/don’t want an advisor to do for you. Be clear with them about what you’re looking for.
Do you want her to recommend or manage investments? Do you want her to help you save more money, reduce your debt or plan for retirement? Do you want her to help you reduce or manage your taxes? Do you want her to provide education around money management? Perhaps all of the above? Whatever it is you want, you are in the driver’s seat and can choose a professional that’s right for you.
Sometimes, what you want and need are two different things- I’d love a second piece of chocolate cake but I really shouldn’t have had the first one! A great advisor will tell you what you NEED to hear (which may or may not be the same as what you want to hear!). Just like managing your health, it never hurts to get a second opinion.
Make Sure You “Click” With Your Advisor- It Must Be A Good Fit
Any relationship must work for both parties. Consider it a partnership where each of you brings important information to the table. The more open and honest you are with your advisor, the better she can help you. This should work the other way around too. Be careful of any advisor who is not willing to share information or answer your questions. Your advisor should have a good EQ as well as a good IQ!
Most reputable advisors offer free consultations to see if their services will meet your needs. Sit down and talk with any prospective advisor before you hire her. Conduct an interview and see how she responds to your questions. Evaluate her decision-making, problem solving and listening skills. Her style and approach are also important considerations. Give her a mini test by asking how she would approach a specific problem that you might have.
When it comes to personal finances, sometimes people don’t know what they don’t know. Come in with an open mind. If an advisor cannot explain things to you in terms you understand, walk away.
Knowledge, Experience and Skill Set Are Important
Your prospective advisor must have the right skills for the job. Make sure she has the qualifications and training required for success. Ask for references. When it comes to your money, honesty and integrity should rank equally as high as training and experience. Beware of overconfidence- any advisor who professes to know all the answers or have all the solutions can be suspect. So is anyone who promises a particular level of return on your investments. Check credentials to make sure she is in good standing with her professional organizations. Also, an advisor should know when to call in or work with additional professionals/specialists. This is always in a client’s best interest.
So Is Value For Money
Know how your advisor is paid and ensure your interests are aligned. Any advisor who will not clearly articulate the basis for her fees or fee structure is not worth hiring.
Where To Look
Word of mouth or referrals go a long way in the money management business. Ask your money savvy friends, colleagues or family for recommendations. Often, professional organizations publish a list of members with various practices and specialties. The better you do your homework, the more likely you are to find someone you can work well with. Just like your health, your money must last a lifetime.
Don’t hesitate to contact me and I’ll do my best to answer them!