10 Essential Questions to Ask Your Advisor
By Net Worth Advisory Group
In today’s world, we are offered an abundance of choices. Whether it’s picking a place to eat or selecting a healthcare provider, the array of options can leave us feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about our decisions. When it comes to choosing a financial advisor, the stakes are even higher. How can you determine which advisor is the best match for your specific needs and personality? How can you be sure you’ll get along well and have a productive working relationship?
The financial professional you choose to manage your family’s wealth will play a crucial role in determining your investment strategy, the fees you incur, and your overall confidence in your financial well-being. Choosing the right advisor takes careful thought because each advisor offers varying levels of service, experience, and expertise.
Given the importance of this choice, investing time in finding an advisor who aligns with your goals can instill a sense of comfort and ease. As you embark on your search for an advisor, consider asking the following 10 questions to potential candidates.
1. Are You a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional?
There’s a reason this is the first question—its importance cannot be overstated! A CFP® professional is a more qualified advisor who has experience, higher requirements, greater financial planning education, and continuing-education requirements. They are also considered fiduciaries and are legally required to avoid conflicts of interest and remain unbiased in their recommendations and advice.
How can you know for certain that an advisor you’re interviewing is a fiduciary? The firm will either be listed as a Registered Investment Advisor or the advisors on the team will hold certifications that hold them to the fiduciary standard, such as the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Chartered Financial Analyst®, or Certified Public Accountant professional designations.
We recommend finding a fee-only CFP® professional who does comprehensive financial planning on an ongoing basis. At Net Worth Advisory Group, we believe in transparency and honesty, doing what we say and finishing what we start—all for your benefit.
2. Do You Have Experience Backed by Credentials?
We take credentials seriously, and we think you should too. Credentials and education play a critical role in your advisor’s competence. There are hundreds of designations in the financial services field, and some are more applicable to your needs than others. We recommend you ask about their educational and professional background and find a seasoned advisor with at least 10 years of experience.
Use a designation-check database to learn more about the credentials financial advisors can earn, and ask the advisors you are researching what they do to continually hone their skills and stay up to date in the industry.
3. What Is Your Planning and Investment Philosophy?
It’s important to work with an advisor who shares a planning and investing philosophy similar to your own. Does your advisor stick to a scientific, evidence-based approach? Do they believe in buy-and-hold or do they move to cash when the market looks shaky? Ask your potential advisor: How exactly will you invest my money? You may also want to inquire about the specific investment strategies and products used in their firm to give you a full scope of their services.
At Net Worth Advisory Group, we know a sound asset allocation strategy is a key factor in creating a confident financial future. Our investment strategies are customized to your unique goals and needs so you can maximize your growth while safeguarding your wealth.
4. How Much Do You Charge?
Financial planning and investment costs can be confusing. And too often financial advisors don’t readily disclose their fees. As fee-only advisors, our clients always know what they’re paying and what they’re receiving for their money. We want our clients to feel comfortable with their strategies and confident there are no hidden fees eating away at their hard-earned savings.
We can’t stress enough the importance of working with a fee-only advisor in order to avoid conflicts of interest created by selling products. A fee-only advisor provides better service because of the compensation structure offered, but be sure to ask about potential fees that could be charged by the advisor, investment institution, and investments.
5. What Types of Clients Do You Serve?
Some financial advisors focus on serving a specific demographic or level of investable assets, so you’ll want to find this out before choosing an advisor. Why is this important? Because you deserve advice and services tailored to your unique needs.
Our ideal clients are people that want to prepare for retirement, but don’t want to manage their own investments and financial plans. They include people like healthcare professionals, engineers, business owners, business managers, and include individuals, couples, and families. These are people who need an advisor who will speak to where they are at, not dole out basic financial principles. Our team’s experience allows us to give you the advice that can make the most difference in your life.
6. Who Else On Your Team Will Be Working With Me?
At some firms, you may work with multiple financial advisors depending on your appointment time or needs, while other firms may pair you up with one financial advisor with whom you’ll work one-on-one. This is important to know so you can meet the other team members with whom you might be collaborating.
At Net Worth Advisory Group, you’ll develop a strong relationship with your primary advisor and the team that supports him or her to offer the highest level of service. We spend a lot of time getting to know our clients and their goals, and we strive to put your dreams at the heart of your financial plan.
7. What Financial Planning Services Do You Offer?
Not all financial advisors can provide comprehensive financial planning. Some cannot sell insurance or securities, such as mutual funds or stocks, if they don’t have the appropriate licenses. Ask a financial advisor what services they provide, whether or not they have a focus, and if they offer a broad spectrum of solutions to meet your needs. When creating a plan together, be sure to ask your advisor why they are recommending particular services and solutions over others.
At Net Worth Advisory Group, our comprehensive services include retirement planning, investment management, tax planning, estate planning, insurance evaluation, education planning, wealth management, and company retirement plans.
8. What Sets You Apart From Other Financial Advisors?
We know you have plenty of options to choose from, but there are a few things we do differently:
- Over the years, we have created proven and reliable systems and processes that we use to help our clients work toward their goals.
- Our advice is tailored to you. We don’t give pat answers but do the legwork to get to know you, your situation, your dreams, and your challenges. As an individual with a unique career, our specialized touch can make all the difference.
- We build our client relationships on integrity, dependability, and accountability. We are passionate about what we do—and confident in how we do it.
9. What Are Your Ongoing Services?
We believe it’s important to see the big picture and all the moving parts of your financial life on an ongoing basis. A differentiator between our firm and other advisors is the comprehensive nature of our financial plans. We take extra time to review, monitor, and update your plan on a regular and consistent basis as part of our overall service to you.
10. How Can I Know if Your Firm Is Right for Me?
When selecting your advisor, the relationship should feel right and you should never feel pressured to make a decision quickly. We offer a complimentary consultation, where you can ask questions, evaluate our processes and services, determine if our personality is a good fit, and give you the information you need to make an informed decision.
Partner With the Right Professional
Your advisor should be more than willing to address these questions, as well as any other inquiries you may have about their services and practices. If you’re unsure where to begin, seeking recommendations from friends and family can help you find the right advisor to guide you on your journey.
We at Net Worth Advisory Group value openness and want our clients to feel at ease when working with us and discussing their concerns. If you would like to dive deeper or have any other questions, we encourage you to get in touch with us for an introductory meeting. You can contact us today by calling us at 801-566-6639 or schedule a complimentary, no-obligation consultation to see if we are a good fit to help you pursue your goals.
To learn more, visit our website.
About Net Worth Advisory Group
Founded in 2003, Net Worth Advisory is an independent, fee-only, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and investment advisory firm located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We specialize in helping people transition from the workplace into retirement, and ensuring that those who are already retired will not outlive their nest egg. Our top priority is to have clients experience a greater sense of ease with diligent, personalized wealth care and the implementation of customized financial plans and ongoing personalized asset management. We equip all clients with a comprehensive financial plan, meeting every six months to update as needed and review investment performance. Our team is passionate about providing comprehensive financial planning with the fee-only model, and we love feeling like we’re making a difference in our clients’ financial lives.
As a NAPFA-registered fee-only advisory firm, our recommendations are untainted by a hidden agenda to sell financial products paying large commissions. Unlike our competitors at brokerage firms, insurance companies, and banks, we are compensated solely by our clients, so we are financially motivated to provide objective advice that is always in our clients’ best interests. Anyone can call himself or herself a financial planner, but only an advisor with the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) designation has met the education, examination, experience, and ethical requirements mandated by the CFP® board. Of the estimated 800,000 financial advisors in the U.S., only 55,000 have earned the CFP® designation. All Net Worth advisors are either CFP® professionals or CFP® professionals in training.
Net Worth Advisory’s mission is to significantly improve the lives of our clients by delivering exemplary financial planning and wealth management advice that enables them to live the lives they have imagined.