Many financial planners are likable people, charismatic, and hopefully well intentioned. Some are even good at their jobs, but unfortunately the typical stock broker, financial planner, and insurance agents are usually just highly paid financial product pushers.
It’s really hard to tell the difference.
I’ve created 13 questions to ask your current or prospective representative. A decent adviser should have no problems answering them in a way that will help you better understand their motivation, goals, and priorities.
- What specifically do you do for your clients and how do you do it. Give examples.
- How do you select the clients you are willing work with? Why?
- What type(s) of people do you work best with?
- Who does not fit your service model?
- How often, by what means, and for what reasons do you contact your clients?
- How much time per week do you devote to meeting or talking with existing clients?
- What are your hours of service? Are you available to talk/ meet on evenings and weekends? How often?
- How many clients do you currently have and how many do you plan on accepting?
- How much time per week do you spend prospecting for new clients?
- What is your investment philosophy? Why?
- How much time per week do you devote to investment research?
- What are your plans for continuing education?
- How much will you earn from our relationship this year and in the future? How are you compensated, and when will you be paid?
Ideally several other advisers would be interviewed as well to provide a basis for comparison (Here are my 13 Answers). If after contemplating all of the responses it reinforces the level of satisfaction with your current adviser thank them for a job well done. However if these questions exposed some uncertainty in your existing relationship, they can also be used as a starting point for developing a new one.
Sharing this information is my way of exposing ridiculous policies of and creating change in the financial services industry.