If you're seeking professional financial advice, the first obvious question would be… who? But a less obvious question that precedes that one is: Do I even need a financial advisor?
I appreciate financial advisor Neal Frankle's integrity in beginning his article on how to choose a financial advisor with that question. Neal then takes readers down a well-thought-through decision tree, filtering the issue through the lenses of what problem you're trying to solve; what are the advisor's qualifications; complicating factors; questions to ask advisors in interviewing them for the job; and more.
I'd add a few of my own thoughts. You do not want a merely transactional relationship. Financial advice is deeply personal. Not a few people are more likely to discuss a variety of private matters more easily than they would reveal their finances. But, to get the most out of the relationship, the investor should be very frank about his finances and ultimate goals.
Secondly, it goes without saying that one should want such frank discussion only with someone for whom he feels an affinity - where a sense of mutual understanding exists. That is important given the ups and downs they will experience together. I'm speaking less of bull and bear markets and more in terms of the slings and arrows that life may deal the client.
Finally, an investor should set out to find an advisor who evidences wisdom, integrity and judgment. Such characteristics will give the investor the confidence to adhere to a long-term plan.
These factors are not necessarily all that easy to discern, but it is worth the extra effort to find someone who demonstrates commitment to your financial success.
Please share your thoughts in our comments section. And here are today's advisor-related links:
- Mark Elzweig: Wirehouses slash recruiting deals up to 17% to comply with fiduciary standard.
- Russ Thornton proposes some New Year's anti-resolutions.
- John M. Mason on the role inflation will play in the New Year's bond yields.
- Michael A. Gayed, CFA: Passive investing's season of success may be nearing its end.
- Douglas Tengdin, CFA doesn't expect bitcoin to make it into the major currency leagues.
- Book review: "The Power and Independence of the Federal Reserve," by Peter Conti-Brown.
- For more content geared to FAs, click here.