Broker Check

The 5 Questions you should ask your Financial Advisor today:

You should be working with someone who is trained, credentialed and experienced in financial planning and investment management.  The following are some questions you should ask your Financial Advisor:

  1. Conflicts of Interest - Are you a FIDUCIARY?  Is there any time that you are not acting as a Fiduciary?  What fees do I pay, and how are you compensated?  Do you or your firm receive any form of compensation from the custodian or products that clients invest in (such as commissions, loads, 12b-1 fees, free lunches or trips, advertising money, free research or software)?

  2. Qualifications and Experience - What degrees, certifications and designations has the advisor earned?  Do they have a Finance Degree?  What about recognized Financial Planning designations like a RFC®, CFP®, CMFC®, CFA®, CRPC® or AIF®.  How long has the advisor been working as a Fiduciary Financial Advisor?  What kind of clients have they worked with in the past?

  3. Planning Process - Your Financial Advisor should utilize a rigorous planning process that includes thorough analysis of your resources (assets and income), your personal objectives (goals and needs), preferences and biases, past investing history, and risk tolerance before proposing a recommended financial plan.  However, this is just the start.  Once a preliminary plan as been established, the financial results need to be monitored on an ongoing basis to ensure you stay on track.  Think about this like the difference between a paper map and a GPS.  The GPS is always updating to take into account traffic and detours.

  4. Customization - Can your advisor tailor the portfolio to you personally?  Are they restricted to a limited number of pre-built portfolios (models/strategies), or set of investment choices (select lists)?  Many large advisory firms restrict their advisors ability to customize your portfolio.  They are more worried about their own liability rather than your best interests.

  5. Support - Is your advisor going it alone or do they have research and analysis to support their advice?  Some advisory firms don't have enough resources backing their investment recommendations.  You may have a stale portfolio that doesn't reflect today's market conditions.

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