You may like your financial advisor, but is he really looking out for you? All advisors are not created equal, and you have a right to know what makes them different! You also have a right to ask yours if he compares!
(1) Do you use a holistic approach to financial planning by determining my values and goals?
(2) Do you work on a fee-only basis, a commission basis, or both, and why?
(3) Do you have company-established insurance requirements, or do you recommend insurance only when it is needed by your clients?
(4) Do you attempt to 'beat' the market through timing and selection, or do you believe that attempts to do so are not worth the additional level of fees and risk? Are you aware that a vast majority of my returns will be based on asset allocation, rather than timing and selection?
(5) Are you a Registered Investment Advisor, and therefore a fiduciary? In other words, must you legally and ethically put my interests above your own?
(6) Do you meet with your clients at least three times a year to refine their portfolio and find out how events in their lives may have changed their financial goals?
(7) Do you return phone calls the same day you receive them, and are you available to answer questions as they arise?
(8) When you wake up each morning, do you ask yourself how you can best be of help to your clients that day?
Adjust these questions as you see fit, and depending upon what your own objectives and needs are from an advisor. The best advice is to never be afraid to ask!
? 2004 Matthew S. Clement, All rights reserved
Matthew S. Clement is a financial planner and investment advisor representative with Financial Network Investment Corporation, member SIPC. He provides holistic wealth management and retirement planning to individuals and businesses. He can be reached in New York at (845) 942-8578, or by email: ClementM@FinancialNetwork.com.