How can you tell the difference between a good financial advisor and a great one? What questions should you ask to help you find a financial advisor that's right for you?
Today, we'll help make the job easier by discussing what questions to ask and what characteristics to look for when you are trying to find a financial advisor.
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Finding the right financial advisor is not easy because it's a decision that most people only do once or twice in their life. Unlike buying a car, which you might do dozens of times throughout your lifetime, finding the right financial advisor is not something you can get "experienced" at doing.
Today's episode will give you some excellent tools to shorten that learning curve and help you find a financial advisor who is the right fit for you. Even if you are a current client of Keen Wealth Advisors, what you'll learn today may reinforce your decision to work with us and encourage you to refer other people to us.
If you come across people who are trying to find a financial advisor, please refer them to this podcast and show notes page. It may save them a lot of time by arming them with the questions and characteristics they should look for in a financial advisor.
Five Insights From How to Find a Financial Advisor
1. It might be a pain, but interview several advisors before choosing one to work with.
To find a financial advisor that is the best fit, it's important to interview several candidates so you can compare and contrast them. You should look for an advisor who wants to understand your "why" and the story of how you got to where you are and what you want to accomplish in the upcoming years.
2. Make sure you find a financial advisor who has a belief system.
What I mean here is your financial advisor must be able to articulate what their philosophy is and what they believe. For example, a client might ask, “Should you carry a mortgage into retirement at these low-interest rates, or should you make sure you’re completely debt free in retirement?” If a client asks me that, I’m going to tell them what I think. And what I think is it’s a tax question more than it is a debt question as long as the debt equity ratio is in place.
3. Check to see if your financial advisor uses checklists.
Just like airline pilots and the world's top surgeons, you should work with a financial advisor who uses checklists. No one, no matter how smart they are, can remember everything. I would even ask your prospective advisor to show you an outline of what they're going to be keeping track of and reminding you of over the course of your relationship so that nothing slips through the cracks. We feel so strongly about checklists that we devoted a full blog post on this topic, click here to read it.
4. Your financial advisor should be a continuous learner and offer you educational opportunities.
The world is changing fast and you need to find a financial advisor who keeps up with what's happening and can separate the news from the noise for your benefit. I've also found that educated clients make better clients so that's one reason why we do our podcast and blog. We want our clients to have a reasonable understanding of their financial situation so they can move forward with confidence in their financial plan.
5. It's also important to find a financial advisor who views you as a relationship and not a number.
Dealing with people's money is an emotional situation so it's critical to find a financial advisor who is relationship oriented; someone who values you as a person who has hopes and dreams for the future. Being comfortable enough with your financial advisor to share important and personal information is necessary to create a long-term plan that is tailored to meet your specific needs.
Bill Keen on the elephant in the room...
Ask your financial advisor, "What are my total costs?"
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Bill Keen is a CHARTERED RETIREMENT PLANNING COUNSELOR℠ and independent financial advisor with more than 25 years of industry experience. As the founder and CEO of Keen Wealth Advisors, a registered investment advisory firm, he specializes in providing personalized retirement planning designed to help people thrive before and during their retirement years. With a passion for educating others, Bill regularly blogs about retirement planning, hosts the podcast Keen on Retirement, and has contributed to U.S. News and World Report, Reuters, Wall Street Journal’s Market Watch, Yahoo Finance, and other publications. Based in Overland Park, Kansas, Bill and his team work with clients throughout the greater Kansas City area and across the nation. To learn more, connect with him on LinkedIn or visit www.keenwealthadvisors.com.
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