Questions You Should Ask
How do I know that I have an advisor that is meeting my needs?
Who is paying your advisor, and for whom does he or she work?
In reality, some investment advisors have a conflict of interest when dealing with clients. For instance, do you know how your advisor is compensated, and whether or not it compromises his or her ability to put your interests first?
Before signing on with an investment advisor, have you asked key questions such as:
- Do they sell products?
- How are they compensated?
- With whom are they licensed?
- Are they affiliated with an insurance company, major wire house, bank, financial institution or other organization?
- What credentials do they have?
- Will they supply a long list of client references from which you can choose?
- Do they offer anything substantially unique from other financial advisors?
Does your portfolio contain unnecessary risk?
- Do you know how to determine if your portfolio is exposed to unnecessary risk and if so, how to eliminate it?
- Are you confident that you know your true return on investment (ROI) over the last year? Over the last five years?
- How does it compare to the performance of other investments, such as the S&P 500 Index?
If any of the following were to occur, would your portfolio be protected from significant loss?
- Terrorist Attack
- Hyper Inflation
- Stagflation (rising costs and interest rates with a weakening economy)
- Significant devaluation in the dollar
Do you really know what will happen if something happens to you?
If something were to happen to you, do your spouse and/or family members understand your entire financial picture well enough to carry on without you?
- Does your current portfolio contain “off the shelf” generic investments with hidden fees and conflicts of interest?
- Have you defined what financial freedom means to you?
- Have you written down your financial goals and objectives to achieve it?
- Are you exposed to paying significantly more taxes than necessary?
- Many changes have occurred that impact estate and tax planning. How long has it been since you updated your estate plan?