A financial planner can take an in-depth look at your finances and help you build a roadmap to reach your goals. Ultimately, the relationship you have with your financial planner can be a close one, and they are there to guide you in your financial planning needs and help shape your overall strategy.
There are a range of questions you may want to ask a prospective financial planner so that you can best assess whether they are the right person for you to work with. Here are a few good ones to start with:
1. How does payment work?
It’s important to understand how your financial planner will be compensated before you start working with them.
The fee structure can be different depending on the planner. Some advisors charge a flat fee to come up with a plan, and you’re responsible for executing the plan. Others charge an hourly rate, while some charge a percentage of the assets they manage for you.
2. What qualifications do you have?
Financial planners can have a range of professional accreditations and educational backgrounds. They may be a Certified Financial Planner Professional (CFP), a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), or a Personal Financial Specialists (PFS), just to name a few.
You find out what type of training they have and ask more questions to decide if their professional background meshes with your financial goals.
3. How do you balance risk?
It’s a good idea to find out what approach your financial planner takes to investing and if that philosophy resonates with you. You can ask them about how they handle risk and how they work with a client’s level of risk tolerance.
The advisor, in turn, may, in turn, ask questions to determine what level of risk you’re comfortable with. They may also assess where you currently stand financially, what your goals are, and where you want to be long-term. In this way, a financial planner can help determine how to strategize and appropriately balance risk with your investments.
4. How will we work together?
This question can help you figure out how much contact you’ll have with your financial planner and how accessible they are. How often are they available and how often will you check in with each other? By asking this question, you may also be able to assess how busy they are with other clients.
It can also be a good idea to ask how they prefer to communicate: will you meet in person, talk over the phone, email, or some combination of the three?
Finding the right professional for you
It’s important to find a financial planner who understands your financial situation and can help you work toward your goals. By asking questions, understanding the planner’s investment philosophy, and how you will work together, you can find the right professional for your needs.