Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor in 2023
The financial advice industry can be a confusing litany of acronyms, complicated jargon, and different services. If you are currently working with a financial advisor, make sure that you are fully informed about what you are paying for, how you are paying, and what you can expect. The top six questions that I recommend you ask your financial advisor are: 1. Are you always a fiduciary? Financial advisors who are only paid by their clients are typically called fee-only fiduciaries. This means that they are always required to act in your best interest. Some financial advisors even take an oath to put your interests first.
2. How are you paid? In addition to being paid by their clients, some advisors are paid by product companies who pay commissions when an advisor sells their product. Commissions, especially high commissions, can create a conflict of interest because the advisor only gets paid when they sell you something. If you aren’t sure how your advisor is getting paid, be sure to ask. 3. What type of investments do I have? Make sure that you understand how your money is invested. Consider the risk profile of your investments (are they risky or relatively conservative), the liquidity of your investments (how easy it is to sell them if you need to), and the fees of your investments (most, but not all, investments have fees associated with them). 4. Can you help me with financial planning? Some advisors specialize in only investments or insurance. Someone who can take a comprehensive look at your income, expenses, investments, insurance, taxes, and estate planning is generally called a financial planner. 5. What is your experience and expertise? Look for an advisor who is experienced and has obtained relevant industry designations. For example, someone who is a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) has learned about the important components of the financial planning process. Someone who is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) has studied the dynamics of investment selection and management. 6. Do you specialize in working with women like me? Find someone that you are comfortable speaking openly with, who truly listens to you, and who has expertise in your situation. Clarity Financial Design specializes in working with women approaching retirement, female entrepreneurs, and women of all ages experiencing a life transition (motherhood, marriage, divorce, or widowhood). If you’d like to learn more about the way Clarity Financial Design puts clients first, we welcome you to set up a meet-and-greet call to learn more.