Never forget that when you have an initial consultation with a financial professional you are interviewing them and they are interviewing you. You want to walk away from the conversation confident that this is a person who understands your vision for your future and where you are right now with your finances. The financial professional should ask questions to get to know you. If they don’t understand who you are and where you’re trying to go, how will they appropriately construct a strategy for investing your money? You should come prepared with questions for them as well. You need to know and understand their investment and money management philosophies. Make sure you interview more than one professional advisor. Too many people hire the first person they speak with, out of discomfort with turning someone down or not realizing that they need to talk to multiple people. Would you walk onto a car lot, test drive one car, and then buy it at the sticker price? Shopping for a financial advisor is the same concept. You want to test drive a few people to ensure you’re getting the best manager for your finances available. When you invest your money there are many factors you cannot control, but the person you hire is the single thing you can. It’s vital to get the best match for your own goals and personality as possible. There is some information that a financial advisor will need to obtain from you in order to appropriately assist you in your financial endeavors. They will need to know what your plans are for the future. You might have very detailed plans, such as an upcoming car purchase that you are planning within a year or two. Or you might be thinking of a more general plan that includes traveling during your retirement years. Whatever the case may be, you have made the effort and sacrifices to ensure that your family is able to live in the manner that you live, and having a clear picture of what you want your future to be like, financially, and sharing that information with your financial advisor, will allow your advisor to help you maintain your accustomed lifestyle. Go in armed with questions you want to ask. Encourage the professional you’re interviewing to answer thoroughly. Take notes as they answer so that when you get home and are trying to evaluate and select, you can remember what was said. If you’re not sure what to ask, consider using some of these questions.
- What services do you offer?
- What are your qualifications? Do you have special licenses or training?
- What approach would you employ when planning my financial future?
- Once you have formulated my financial plan, what ongoing services will you provide?
- What is your typical client, and how is the performance of their portfolios conducted?
- How do you calculate your fees?
Once you get these questions answered, you will have a basis to compare one advisor to another. You want to work with someone you trust, and someone who understands your goals. A one-stop shop is nice in theory, but beware of offices that offer services you will never need. The more services an office provides, the more their fees tend to run. See also microstore financement