How to Choose a Financial Advisor

If choosing a financial advisor is at the top of your to-do list, here are 5 tips to ensure you find the right partner for you.

The right financial advisor can make all the difference. Here’s how to select one.

Choosing a financial advisor is easy when you know what to look for.

If choosing a financial advisor is at the top of your to-do list, here are 5 tips to ensure you find the right partner for you.

1. Seek a fiduciary
Registered investment advisors-fiduciaries are held to a higher standard of care that requires them to act in their clients’ best interests at all times. Your gut instinct is also important here. Do you like the advisor, get a sense of their sincerity, and feel they truly have your best interest at heart?

2. Pay attention to your comfort level
Sound financial planning requires a partnership with your advisor. That can’t develop if they talk over your head. Your first meeting should give you a sense of how knowledgeable they are and whether they care to help you understand. You’ll want to make certain they’re not just telling you what you want to hear. Are they really listening to you? Are they taking notes?

3. Review their ADV
This formal disclosure document is required to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). It’s not a glossy brochure. It’s several pages long and can tell you all about the firm, including its registered advisors and their qualifications. Skimming for important points should do the trick.

4. Look for a holistic approach
Some advisors are simply trying to sell you a product. Real financial planning means helping you understand insurance, taxes, and estate plans, in addition to investments. It means a willingness to work with your attorney and CPA, if you have them, to integrate other aspects of your plans for the future. Some investment advisors are even dual-licensed to help with these aspects. Over time, this holistic approach can ensure all the important planning is accomplished.

5. Opt for an independent firm
Advisors at big, brand-name firms have less flexibility and independence than those at independent firms because of the corporate directives and proprietary firm products. And while a larger firm might start you with a senior advisor, you may end up talking more with a junior associate or assistant over time. So, find that independent firm with no hidden agenda where you’ll work directly with an experienced advisor who will customize a portfolio that is truly in your best interest.

Most people in our business have lots of “sounds good” financial planning tips at the ready, but comprehensive financial planning goes way beyond tips, tricks, and trends. When choosing a financial advisor, be sure to find one who will work to understand and respect the risks you’re willing to take with your money, and steer you toward choices that can help you reach your financial goals.

Interested to see if we’re a fit for you or have more questions about how to choose a financial advisor? Give us a call at 608.514.1044 today to schedule an appointment with one of our advisors.