Questions for a potential financial advisor

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A financial advisor’s role is to help clients work toward their financial goals. Finding a qualified advisor you feel comfortable with requires careful evaluation.

Last week this column discussed hiring a financial advisor based on the services provided, and the cost of those services. Today we will consider some specific questions you might want to ask a potential advisor. Their answers will help you determine if they are a good fit for you.

Communication is the key to any good relationship. How does the advisor communicate with their clients, and how often? You will also want to know what topics they discuss with their clients.

A common complaint I have heard over the years is that communication with a prospective advisor was excellent during the selling process. But unfortunately, in some cases, after deciding to work with that specific adviser the level of communication deteriorated.

Will you be communicating with the main advisor or with members of a team? If there are team members, it would be helpful to know their qualifications and experience as well as those of the lead advisor.

Understanding the type of clients an advisor works with can be useful information. Do the clients have financial issues and concerns similar to yours? It would be helpful if an advisor had experience working with others similar to you so there is a good depth of experience to draw on.

It is also critical to understand the investment philosophy and the types of investment strategies and products that are used. What research or evidence was used to assist with the development of a specific investment approach?

To have success with your personal finances, two things are important. A good relationship with ongoing communication that addresses all of your financial needs and priorities. And secondly, a good investment approach. A good investment strategy will enable you to successfully implement your financial plan.