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When interviewing a financial advisor, what questions should I ask?

Jan 05, 2012 by Shaloha in  |  Flag
16 Answers  |  19 Followers
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Alex Bentley Level 18

How much do you charge? Is my account big, small or just about the right size for your practice? Are you an active or passive investor? My personal philosophy is that you can't beat the market, so your focus should be on things you can control: paying low fees, having smart asset allocation between stocks and bonds, having low turnover in your portfolio, and paying as little taxes as possible.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Aug 14, 2013 from Pacific Palisades, CA

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Shaloha,

Choosing a financial advisor is a big decision. Finding someone who you’re comfortable with and who you trust is important.

This worksheet has a list of questions you may want to ask when interviewing advisors: http://bernofinmgt.com/documents/chooseanadvisorworksheet_berno_v3.pdf. It covers everything from the advisor’s education to how they charge for their services. I hope you find it useful!

1 Comment   |  Flag   |  Aug 22, 2013 from Township of Anderson, OH
Bruce J. Berno, CFP®

Shaloha, here is the correct link: http://bernofinmgt.com/documents/chooseanadvisorworksheet_berno_v3.pdf

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Flag |  Aug 22, 2013 near Township of Anderson, OH

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Dushyant Pandit Level 17

When selecting a professional service provider (Lawyer, CPA, Advisor) clients generally have three questions on their mind:

1) Can you address my needs and do you have the expertise and experience to do it? 2) Do you have my best interest at heart? 3) Will you charge a fair fee?

For Advisors, select different types, for example: Registered advisors who are fiduciaries, Advisors at institutions like brokers, insurance companies, banks, advisors who are specialists v/s generalists etc.

Discuss these questions with each one, evaluate their answers and pick the one that is closest to your needs.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Oct 14, 2013 from Summit, NJ

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See this brochure from the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER (TM) Board of Standards - http://www.cfp.net/upload/publications/185.pdf It should be very helpful. You can also print it and take it with you when interviewing your prospective advisor. Good luck!

Comment   |  Flag   |  Jan 06, 2012 from Boston, MA

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All the preceding answers provide good general information on questions to ask your potential advisor. Here are some visual red flags that indicate the advisor you are considering may not be the right choice: 1. Hair Products - you generally stay away from male advisors that use hairspray, gel or mousse. Toupees and die jobs also a red flag. 3. Jewelry - anything more than a watch and wedding ring is unacceptable. 4. Stubble beards - beard or no beard, no in between. The only time one should have a 3 day stubble is on Monday morning, on vacation, or 3 days into growing a real beard. 5. Vehicles - Hummers, $100k+ sports cars, and the like. These are obviously impracticle and adverts for conspicuous comsumption - do you want them handling your money? 6. Clothes - must be good quality, but not flashy. Always check the shoes. 7. Speaking - your guy has passed the above tests, then you meet with him. If after 15 minutes they have done more talking than you in your intital meeting, they are not interested in what you have to say and will not be good to work with.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Jan 18, 2014 from Canton, GA

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Ask how they get paid 1st--you'll want to know if they are commissions, fees, or both.

2nd, ask to see a copy of a financial plan that they've prepared for other clients. If they are a true planner, they'll have one ready to show you. It should cover investments, insurance, taxes, health care, etc. Read through stuff and see if that makes sense.

Find out how long they've been in the business and ask what makes them different from everybody else.

Comment   |  Flag   |  Feb 24, 2016

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