Many people know nothing about the stock market, investing, or retirement. Often, a financial advisor can be a great resource. Here are some tips on evaluating a financial advisor. If you choose the right one, they can be a great asset.
The standard fee is roughly 1%. Many people complain, though, that they do virtually nothing. If the account size is large, the price adds up to a princely sum. Because of this, some people choose to go with an hourly service with a discount provider like Schwab. You can only decide to contact your advisor when you have questions. Otherwise, it’s a “set it and forget it” situation.
Also, some financial advisors receive sales commissions from mutual funds and insurance companies. You want to learn about this beforehand. It should be a question you ask in your advisor interviews. The kickbacks are rather large and, unfortunately, may affect the product recommendations you get from advisors.
Ask the financial advisor if they’re a fiduciary. If so, they accept legal liability for their financial recommendations. They are required by law to put their clients’ needs and interests first.
If they’re not fiduciaries, they’ll often put their employer’s needs ahead of clients. They might receive some revenue from other parties.
Ask how often you’ll be meeting with your advisor. Many advisors have an annual in-person review. If you want it more often, they might require you to have a more extensive account.
A financial advisor might offer additional services. These include document preparation, legal advice, tax preparation, and estate planning. This might be convenient, as you won’t have to go out and try an unknown provider when you need a service. However, some people might want to go with the best provider in each service, rather than just one company.
Do a background check. BrokerCheck is a free service provided by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, or FINRA. Steer clear if they have a sketchy history.
Ask them about their experience. If you’re young and they’re just starting, that might be fine and maybe even beneficial. But a seasoned professional might want someone with plenty of experience.
Choosing a financial advisor can sometimes be challenging. There are plenty of things they should be evaluated on.