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5 Questions Smart Investors Ask Their Advisors

From 1980 to 2010, the population over age 90 tripled. 

And it is expected that this demographic will quadruple over the next 40 years.  (Source:  Census Bureau study, “90+ in the United States”)  Advancements in public health, food science, sanitation, pharmacy and medicine are extending our lifespan (for better or worse).

Will you be one of the 90+?

If you are, it will help if you are a smart saver/investor in your working years.  But you will still face the daunting task of “reversing course” and figuring out the best way to spend down what you have accumulated in your retirement and 90+ years.  You also may need to decide whether you need Long Term Care Insurance (LTCI), expensive estate planning and how to fund Grandchildren’s education…among other decisions.

Many folks may want to consider professional advice in sorting through all of these details, but choosing a financial advisor can be a head scratching journey.  Here are 5 questions to ask any financial advisor before hiring them:

1) Are you registered as an investment advisor?  If yes, then the advisor owes you a  ”Fiduciary duty” which is a fancy way of saying he or she must put your interests ahead of theirs, in all matters.  Investment advisors who are not fiduciarys are held to the lesser “Suitability standard”

2) How will I pay you for your services?  This should be put in writing.  The 3 basic methods of payment to advisors are; flat or hourly fee , percentage of portfolio – often referred to as assets under management (AUM) or commissions paid per transaction.

3) What is your overall investment philosophy/approach? Listen carefully to this answer!

4) What firm has custody of the funds?  Who will be sending me trade confirmations and monthly statements?  This only applies if your advisor is supervising your assets

5) How will I benefit from hiring you?  Listen carefully to this answer as well!


As fiscal ”self-reliance” becomes the norm, hiring the right advisor is critical.  Like law and accounting, financial planning is an area where good advice may be “priceless”.  That is, of course, if you hire the right advisor.

We were given two ears and one mouth for a reason; asking smart questions will reveal if a potential advisor is a good fit for you and your family.

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Comment   |  7 years, 11 months ago from Port Washington, NY