Your investment goals are long term, your relationship with a financial professional should be too. As with any long term relationship, it’s important that you both like and trust the other person. Just like looking for Mr. or Ms. Right, choosing a financial professional can be challenging because we don’t always know what we’re looking for.
Here are a few things to consider as you look for a financial professional:
- Education and Experience: Smaller accounts (under $500k) often get assigned to a rookie advisor. While usually very eager, they have little experience. If this happens with your accounts, ensure your advisor is partnered with a seasoned professional to help manage your accounts. You don’t need someone learning the ropes of the industry by making mistakes with your hard earned money.
- Integrity Check: Financial firms and the advisors can be vetted with a quick search. BrokerCheck gives a snapshot of a broker's employment history, regulatory actions, and investment-related licensing information, arbitrations and complaints. Click here to see for yourself: https://brokercheck.finra.org/
- Interview: Financial advisors work for you. Your best bet is to meet with a few, check their backgrounds, and choose someone you’re comfortable with. Here are a few red flags think about:
Do they lead with performance?
As it's been said “There are lies, damn lies, and statistics.“ Any financial professional can skew numbers in their favor. Investing isn’t about trying to time or “beat the market.” It’s about finding the balance between limiting risk and maximizing rewards in order to achieve your financial goals, priorities, and dreams.
Do they lead with the firm?
It’s great to be proud of your firm, but it’s the advisor who gives you advice. Investment firms put out a myriad of financial information that your advisor must interpret for you. You need an advisor that puts you first and not the firm.
Do they lead with financial speak?
Having extended education is great but it doesn’t amount to much for you if your advisor speaks in terms you don’t understand. If you find yourself leaving a meeting more confused than when you showed up, you should be leery of that advisor.
Do they talk about “their way” of investing?
Simply put, if a financial professional doesn’t try to get to know you and your financial goals first, they are probably the wrong choice. The first thing they should say is: “Tell me about yourself.” Every advisor has a way they like to invest, but advice must be tailored to your specific needs rather than trying to fit you, the client, into their particular investment strategies. The make up of your investment portfolio must fit your goals, not the advisor’s preference.
There are many fantastic financial professionals that have the skills and desire to serve their clients. You do not have to settle or be stuck with the wrong fit. Take your time and find the financial professional that is best for you and your financial situation.