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Many people looking to dip into investing have a number of questions that need to be answered. But one of the biggest ones in determining whether they need a financial advisor or not.
Chances are highly likely that most people are in need of a financial advisor. Not many people know a lot about the financial world or even want to keep up with it, so financial advisor is key in helping the average individual manage their money.
But you don’t want any ordinary financial advisor. You need someone that aligns with your needs. You don’t need to invite them to your house or anything, but you need to be on the same page in terms of money and where you want to go. With that said, you want to be asking them questions and below we’ve handpicked specific questions that are well worth asking.
The first question is “Are you a fiduciary?” A fiduciary is someone who is required to put their client’s interested ahead of their own. This is key because if they say yes you know that every piece of advice they tell you is said with your interests in mind. Fiduciaries are required to tell you all of their fees, how they are compensated and if they have any conflicts of interest that may influence their advice. Non-fiduciaries aren’t required to do that.
The second question is “How much do you charge for your services and how do you charge?” There are many ways for how a financial advisor charges. Some have planning fees, they charge based on your assets under their management or they make commissions from selling specific products. You want to know that stuff and how much it’ll cost you for those things.
Another good question to be asking right out the door is “What certifications or credentials do you have?” Financial advisors all need licenses in order to sell stocks or other financial instruments to you. Not only that but financial advisors hone their own skill sets in various areas. Some have more knowledge with stocks over mutual funds, bonds, and other sectors. Find one that suits your needs and goals.
The fourth question you want to ask is “What services do you or your firm provide for me?” This is important because some financial advisors are simply that: they provide advice and nothing else. Other financial advisors will actually plan out various things for you. From stock portfolios to bonds, tax, retirement, real estate and more. You want to find an advisor that again suits your own needs.
The final question you should ask the financial advisor is “Can I see a sample financial plan?” This is important because there is only one standardized structure for financial plans. For this reason, there are wide variations of these plans. Some can provide short and sweet snapshots of a financial plan while others may bog you down with 50-page reports with financial lingo, charts, graphs, and more. Depending on the sample they provide, you can get an idea for how financial advisors will inform their clients. Each advisor has their own style and much like before, you want an advisor that’ll sit down and explain things to you and guide you along.
Financial advisors are tricky business, but armed with the right questions you can assess which advisor is best for you. Of course, you can always change advisors, but it’s better to get it right the first time. So take your time with it as they can help you determine your financial future.