Money can be an emotional subject, so it’s important to find someone you trust when making a plan for your financial future. When you’re looking for an advisor to guide you on the path to financial wellbeing, experience and expertise are key, as well as personal and professional qualities that put you at ease.
Check out our guide to see what qualities you should look for in a financial advisor who will put your needs first.
The ideal financial advisor cares about you personally, beyond your finances. That’s because a personalized financial plan is about more than your assets. It’s about how you spend your time, what you value, and your goals for the future.
From the beginning, your financial advisor should ask questions about who you are as a person and the state of your finances. To the right financial advisor, you’re more than just a number. You are someone they are truly invested in. Watch out for financial advisors who get straight to business and skip the talk about your loved ones, work life, and future goals.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCE: 10 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Financial Advisor
Goal setting is a crucial piece of any financial plan. These include long-term, mid-term, and short-term goals like planning for retirement or saving for a child’s education.
Every action you take with your financial advisor works towards these goals. That’s why a purposeful approach is a sign of a good advisor. Be careful if an advisor works with all clients the same way. They should be able to adapt their approach to your specific needs.
Your advisor should be able to help you understand the “why” behind any recommendations. You can play a part in building a strong relationship with your advisor by listening well, asking good questions, and not being afraid to challenge them to better understand the advice being given.
A financial professional is meant to make things easier, not more stressful. If you feel that you must constantly follow up on particular items or upcoming events, it may be time to reassess your partnership.
A proactive advisor will stay ahead of the next stage of your plan and anything you should be informed about. This may include:
- Keeping in touch about upcoming milestones in your life
- Communicating about a down market
- Asking detailed questions to determine your next steps
Even if you don’t have any urgent items to discuss, it’s nice to meet with your advisor at least twice a year to get an update on your investments and review your financial plan. Setting a consistent meeting cadence will ensure that you remain on the same page as your advisor and decreases the likelihood of financial planning opportunities being missed.
There are times when your advisor will not be able to anticipate your needs proactively. However, if your advisor is responsive and available, this shouldn’t be a problem.
It is normal for unexpected events to come up in your life—like job changes, divorce, or a large expense among others. Your advisor should be there for you when these events occur and be available for a call or meeting when necessary. When they are frequently late in responding to questions or requests, or if you feel their responses are brief and impersonal, you may lose confidence that they can guide your financial life effectively.
There is a classic line at the end of most investment advice pieces that reads, “past results do not guarantee future performance.” Future investment returns are extremely difficult, if not impossible, to predict. Make sure your advisor is setting realistic expectations about investment performance, potential risks and openly addresses potential issues in your financial life.
A “fiduciary” is legally obligated to do what is in a client’s best interest. CFP® professionals must be fiduciaries to retain their certification and have proven they exhibit the knowledge to provide good financial advice. Working with an advisor who you know is giving you honest and thoughtful advice will give you the confidence that your finances are in good hands.
Truly great financial advisors love what they do. They have the opportunity to help ease the stress finances can bring to a person’s everyday life and allow their clients to focus on what is truly important to them!
SEE ALSO: Learn about our advisors here
Those that are passionate about financial advisory will always be looking to expand their knowledge and stay up to date with changes to financial regulations and industry best practices.
A passionate financial advisor will stop at nothing to help you find a resolution. Even if they do not know the answer right away, the advisor will do research to point you in the right direction or connect you with a person better equipped to help you with your question.
Team Hewins, LLC (“Team Hewins”) is an SEC registered investment adviser; however, such registration does not imply a certain level of skill or training, and no inference to the contrary should be made. We provide this information with the understanding that we are not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, or tax services. We recommend that all investors seek out the services of competent professionals in any of the aforementioned areas.