Being the first to admit that I do not go to my physician every year for a physical, I do understand why people do not go. The long wait for an appointment, the office visit lasting maybe 20 minutes and, of course, the perfunctory exam based on your gender and age.I am either lucky or smarter. I take care of myself. Knowing what I enjoy indulging in and what I cannot, all in moderation of course, has kept me from going more often to my physician’s office.Going to your financial advisor once a year should not have the same anxiety level. Let’s define a financial advisor, as I see it. A financial professional is a person who has taken years to better himself and his (or her) clients through his own education, certifications, best business practices and a good, overall knowledge of the aspects of financial planning (the generalist). We also practice what we preach and do not indulge in the latest fad. We work for the financial health of the client and the clients’ goals (the osteopath). Some of us do limit our practices to particular areas of interest (the specialist).Is the financial advisor you are doing business with or going to see for the first time advising you or selling to you? As the client, are your financial goals playing second fiddle to your advisor’s sales goals and objectives? This can create a substantial amount of confusion and uncertainty for investors who have to determine the real professionals.When I interview other professionals, such as attorneys and CPAs, I actually conduct an interview. There are professionals who I willingly will do business with and others who will never hear from me, or my clients, again. Have you done the same with your financial advisor? Your physician? If not, why?Your list of questions for the financial advisor should include:
- How long have they been providing financial services professionally?
- What licenses do they carry?
- What professional education have they completed?
- Do they currently have industry credentials that can be checked for complaints or problems with other clients?
- Do they “company hop” every year or so?
- What other professionals do they currently work with who would be comfortable referring back to them?