06 Oct Top Tips When Selecting a Financial Planner
Whenever I am speaking with women about financial matters, a request for tips or suggestions on selecting a financial planner almost always comes up. While my top tips are listed below, please list your suggestions and/or questions to ask in the comment section!
1. Interview whoever you are considering and don’t be shy! There really aren’t any stupid questions — although there may be less than stellar answers. While most women start with a referral from a friend or other trusted advisor, you still need to do your own due diligence. Ask for samples of a financial plan that would be typical for your situation. Get references. Do your homework!
2. Ask how many clients the planner currently serves, and are those clients similar in net worth to your situation? You may not get the attention you deserve if the planner focuses on clients with significantly higher net worths. Or in the reverse situation, your planner may not be as qualified if she focuses her practice on clients with significantly lower levels of wealth than you.
4. Ask how the planner will be paid and secure a written compensation agreement.
5. Ask the planner if she specializes in a certain type of client, and to what extent does her practice include:
- single women?
- divorced women?
- women in the start-up phase of a closely-held business? Or women business owners in a “mature” closely-held business?
- women who’ve inherited significant wealth?
- women corporate executives
- women with same sex partners.
Ask the planner to discuss challenges unique to the women’s niche that fits your situation and to provide specific examples of how she has helped.
6. Define a communication plan. How frequently will you meet? Share your preferences regarding in-person, phone or email. What are the expectations regarding accessibility? Who else on the advisor’s team might you encounter?
7. What are you most concerned about — budgeting/cash flow, asset management — or both? Do the tools your planner uses address both?
8. Ask about your advisors experience with legacy and/or estate planning, and in particular multi-generational issues, charitable planning and multi-state property law concerns.
9. Ask when does your planner engage with other professionals such as your attorney or CPA.
10. Ask what the planner does to provide insight and on-going education to clients.