3. In what areas are you authorized to advise me?
This will help develop on the previous question by diving a little deeper into the financial areas where you can expect to receive the most guidance and which areas may require assistance from additional financial resources (for example from other departments in the financial consultants company).
4. Do you, or the company you represent, offer services outside the scope of regular financial advisor services that can add value to your main service offering?
This question will allow you to understand how you will receive additional financial services from the greater company that the consultant you are considering works for.
There may be instances where you require certain specific details or have questions that are better answered by professionals from other departments. No one person can do everything, and so, this question will help generate a conversation regarding over and above financial services you may need or want in the future. The answer will highlight the resources of the company backing the financial advisor you are considering.
5. What type of clients do you typically work with?
This question can be revealing to help you assess if you are the ”typical” type of client the advisor has regularly worked with or are atypical in that you have a far different set of financial circumstances that are less common or more complex then what the advisor has normally worked with.
Just because you are not like the “typical” client does not mean the fit between the advisor and you will not be a beneficial one!
6. What is your education?
A solid and demonstrable track record of excellent education and familiarity with the markets inner workings is of utmost importance to you when considering who to choose as your financial consultant. It’s a great question that should highlight the pride in the consultant’s education in the field of finance.
7. What is your training or background experience?
In addition to one’s formal education, it is never a bad thing to know the person’s work history…especially in how it relates to finance! This can be helpful to paint a better picture of their career and work experience. As the adage goes, there is no better place to learn then on the job. You’ll ideally want an advisor that has learnt the books and gained experience, knowledge and accolades on the job!
8. How do you get paid?
After all, you will be transacting with your financial advisor (hopefully) for years to come. It is never a bad question to ask how the advisor will be paid. Retainer, commission based, other? Ask, it’s vital you understand how you pay for the services you receive.
9. Who comes first, me, you or your employer?
This question will get the salesperson in them going a little at the front end of the answer given. However, don’t be fooled, there is no such thing as a bad or silly question…this will eventually help you assess the passion and integrity of the person to deliver on their advice one way or another.
10. What kind of research can I expect will be done? Will you provide me with a plan?
So now that you have a better understanding of the person’s background experience, who they are and the company they work with/for, this question becomes essential.
11. How will I know my plan is on track?
Having a plan is one thing. Seeing it through, or more importantly, seeing it work out in your favour is ultimately what you came to meet the financial consultant for in the first place. A plan that works.
Time reveals all. By going over your plan with your consultant at regular intervals established between all parties concerned is how you will be able to put your finger on whether or not the plan is working out to you and your party’s satisfaction.
12. What are your returns?
The greater the returns the better. However there has to meet some way with which to measure or better, anticipate what the returns will be. Asking this question will open the discussion to expectations you should have and that will likely be set.
13. What’s the guarantee?
Knowing that the financial consultant or advisor you are considering working with is member of an interest group that has your financial well-being in mind will only help paint a better picture of a exactly how professionally set up the financial advisor and their affiliate company are.
14. What type of service can I expect to receive from you moving forward?
Wishful thinking has anyone and everyone reading this article saying to themselves in answer to the question “the best!”. However, the definition of the what makes up the “best” financial service can vary greatly from one person to another.
Generally, people sense they are receiving the best service possible if all the conditions that they understood they should expect to receive are being received.
If you are do not feel you are receiving the best financial advice from your advisor the best thing you can do is to speak up early and communicate this as early as possible. Often, missing a vital question or not having a full understanding of the way things are to be played out can often be the culprit in a sour sentiment towards the results.
15. Can you provide testimonials or references from existing or past clients?
No one would disagree that being able to display a track record of positive comments, feedback and testimonials is a great assurance.
Many people do not ask for testimonials, take the time and ask, the response to this question can be very revealing!
16. How will we work together? In person, online, phone, all?
Let’s face it. Today’s ultra-rapid communication abilities make it easy for a lot of people to easily reach out to their financial advisor whenever they feel the need. A smart financial advisor who really bends over backwards to help their clients will only take advantage of this fact.
However, there are instances where an email just won’t cut it. You want to know that you can easily schedule a meeting if ever you have a questions or concerns that you feel require an answer directly from the advisor’s mouth.
Knowing how you can get in touch and when you can get in touch is part of the key to a successful relationship between you and your financial advisor.
17. How often are you available to meet?
Along the same lines as the question above is the simple fact that there are still many people today that would prefer talking about even the most trivial financial matters face to face. A responsible financial advisor will assess your needs early on and know whether or not they are the right fit for you if you are of the breed that self describes themselves as a “tough client”.
18. How many clients do you work with at one time?
Knowing that you will have your advisor’s full attention at all times is reassurance in and of itself. It is good to know roughly how many clients your advisor and their associated company typically take on to help you understand your context. No one wants to feel like they are simply one of many, at the same time however, it is worthwhile understanding the client portfolio capacity your financial advisor can take on as this can also be a revealing input into the greater machine that backs the advisor.
19. Can you provide me all advice in writing?
Much like the question of being given a plan earlier that will guide you is the similar question of “getting it all in writing”.
If it your personal plan seems good and the comfort is there with the advisor you are asking the questions to, simply ask them if they will provide you with everything in writing. If the answer is not an immediate yes…then you will need to ask more questions!