Increase your chances of success by taking time to do your research before choosing a financial planner, and be sure to interview at least two candidates before you commit. Understand the fee structure, since any fees are a headwind to your portfolio returns. Below are some great questions to start you off.
- What are your financial planning credentials and designations?
- How long have you been offering financial planning services?
- What is your process for working with clients?
- Will you—or one of your associates—work directly with me on an ongoing basis?
- Do you or your firm receive financial incentives by recommending certain financial products?
- Do you offer ongoing advice regarding my non-investment financial affairs, and look at my entire financial picture?
- Do you and your firm have a fiduciary duty to act in your clients’ best interest?
- Can I access my information, account balances, and performance reports on-demand?
- How are you and your firm paid? List all sources including asset management fees, trading and insurance commissions, mutual fund expense ratios, sales fees on mutual funds with loads, and revenue sharing with business partners.