Do I need a Financial Advisor?

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Contributors

W

e hear this a lot. People come to us and say, “I’m interested in working with you, but I am not sure that I need a financial advisor.” Quite often, we get these types of inquiries from people who are unsure for various reasons.

Some people have handled their finances themselves over the years, have accumulated wealth, and are now entering a phase where financial decisions are more pressing. We have found that many people that fit this description may be very capable of handling various aspects of financial planning alone. But the reality is, they likely have a job and may be looking for a partner to delegate certain areas to and feel confident that they are covered.

On the flipside, some people are unclear about the kind of financial shape they are in. They may be less comfortable in these areas and need someone to support this ongoing stewardship and process.

And of course, many people are looking for reassurance that they have not left any holes in their planning and would like to see a coordinated effort made on their behalf.

There may not be a silver bullet that answers the question, “Do I need a financial advisor?” but we do believe there are several ways to engage and work with an advisory team to meet your unique needs and situation.

So now you may be thinking, “OK, so, what are some things to look for in a financial advisor?” Well, to name a few, we believe a good financial advisor is one that is an active listener – someone who not only hears you but is able to digest what you share and provide specific guidance based on your needs, values, fears, hopes, goals, etc. This may seem like an obvious piece of advice. But, learning about someone’s listening skills is not something you can easily screen for. In truth, it may take time to discover.

We also believe that a good financial advisor is one that knows his or her stuff. Credentials are important in this field. Still, it is just as critical, if not more, to find someone who has a robust knowledge of various aspects of financial planning – not simply how to manage an investment portfolio. Such areas include insurance and risk management, investment savings and cash accumulation, retirement planning, estate planning, etc.

As a potentially good resource for your family, we would encourage you to connect with your accountant and attorney and see who they believe would be a good fit for your family. Quite often, a financial advisor plays the role of quarterback to your financial plan – which includes many of the topics we have mentioned. Your accountant and attorney may have the lay of the land in your area and be able to make a sound recommendation for you.

If you think you may be ready to engage with a financial professional, we believe a good place to start is by calling a few firms and getting a sense of who they are and what they offer. We believe a good advisory team is one that strives to make you feel comfortable while you are sorting through your family’s objectives and goals, and also encourages you to take your time.

Some initial questions you can ask are:

  1. What services do you provide?
  2. What is your process?
  3. How will we work together?
  4. What should I expect of you as my advisor?
  5. What are my own responsibilities?
  6. How is your team structured?
  7. What are your credentials?
  8. How are you compensated for your services?

We understand that money is very personal and you should feel comfortable with your decision. If you are interested in learning more about us and if we might be a good fit for your family, give us a call!