As a financial professional, I understand the responsibility I have to my clients and to your money but not everyone does. Before you select someone to handle your retirement and other investments, ask these ten questions:
- Can I ask you a few questions? Seems silly to have to ask but some people aren’t willing to chat about their business or investment philosophy. Those are the people to avoid. At Heritage Financial Strategies I am available to answer your questions as you’re evaluating if we should work together. In fact, it’s part of my process with prospective or new clients.
- How do you get paid? Financial professionals get paid a number of different ways including commission, fee based, and managed account. If your advisor can’t explain the differences, consider working with someone else; they should be able to articulate how they are paid.
- How much does it cost to work with you? Make sure the answer is clear and you understand it so there’s no confusion later. While some cost is built into the investments, there are other consulting fees that may apply depending on the type of accounts and investments you have.
- What is your education and/or training? Don’t be afraid to ask your financial professional questions like where they went to school, what their degree is, and how they came to be a financial advisor. I am an Accredited Asset Management SpecialistSMor AAMS® and have agreed to complying with Standards of Professional Conduct and ongoing training.
- How often will we meet to talk about investments? There are often a few meetings and emails to get you started as a client but don’t let the contact stop there. I meet with each of my clients at least once a year, sometimes as much as quarterly, to review accounts and make sure their investments are aligned with their goals.
- How do you invest in yourself? If they aren’t taking time to better themselves and understand the industry, they might not pay attention to your money either. Staying current with trends and regulations related to investments as well as investing in their own health and well-being is important.
- Can you explain my retirement account allocations? An experienced financial professional will be able to review your retirement and other account statements in a way that you understand.
- What is your investment philosophy? It’s important to work with someone you can talk to about your own investment goals especially if they have a similar philosophy to your own.
- What happens to my account if something happens to you? You need to know your money is protected and that you have access to it even if something happens to your financial professional. They should be able to articulate the succession plan to you.
- Why did you become a financial professional? The answer tells you how passionate they are about their work and connects you to them in a personal way. I became a financial professional to help women understand money and investments in a way that wasn’t available when I was growing up.
To me, managing investments is about more than money. It’s about connecting with my clients to help them build a relationship with money that isn’t scary or intimidating. I want you, as my client, to understand how I get paid and why I do what I do, so that we can work together to meet your financial goals.