Five Questions Women Should Ask Their Financial Advisors
For women, finding an advisor that clicks with you can be especially difficult. After all, women financial advisors only represent 15-20% of all advisors and only 23.6% of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERS™ are female. This isn’t to say that a male financial advisor can’t be the perfect match for you, but it does show a bias in this industry toward men.
Before you trust your nest egg to any financial advisor, there’s a great deal to learn about them. You may find that you need to interview several advisors before you find the one that matches your situation. During these interviews, consider posing these five questions that can provide you with some key information about a potential advisor.
1. In your opinion, what makes you a good financial advisor?
You can learn a lot from this single question. The right advisor should highlight their education and certifications (such as CFP®). Education is one important factor, but you should also pay close attention to work experience. You may find that the right financial advisor for you has a solid educational background and many years of valuable experience.
With this question, you should also consider what defines success for a potential advisor. A financial advisor should work hard to get you a solid rate of return, but that shouldn’t be their only focus. Look for an advisor that takes a comprehensive view of your financial position and understands how to optimize your savings and expenses.
Finally, as you well know, every person is unique, and the same goes for financial advisors. Look for advisors that can explain why they are different from their peers, and make sure those reasons complement your situation.
2. Can you describe your ideal client?
Naturally, an advisor who has a lot of experience working with a certain group of individuals should have an edge in working with those groups. An effective advisor will know which types of clients work best for them, and let you know if your situation is a good fit.
Women should look for advisors that have experience working with other women. Finding an advisor that is like you, or that shares your values, is a must. After all, an experienced advisor will strip you financially naked to understand your full situation. This means you must be comfortable discussing every detail of your finances and circumstances with them. So, when you and your advisor are the right fit for each other, both of you will have a better chance of succeeding in your goals.
3. If you become my financial advisor, how will we stay in touch?
An advisor should be available as often as you need them. Some women may want a performance update only once a quarter, while others might want to stay on top of the day-to-day movements of their portfolio. In any event, discuss your communication needs with your potential advisor, and make sure they are comfortable meeting them.
If you’re married, it is wise for you and your partner to be involved in communications with your advisor. If tragedy strikes, you don’t want to be blindsided by financial issues or the need to talk about sensitive topics with someone you don’t know.
The ways your advisor can communicate are also important. Do you have a direct phone line to your advisor? Can they meet with you in person or via a web meeting? Are you able to text or email them? Can you contact them via their website?
For many people, email works for some basic questions. But when it comes to major financial events, it’s best to be able to schedule a call or even sit down with your advisor in person or in an online meeting. An advisor with the right mix of availability and communication channels can reduce the stress you experience when navigating your financial plan.
4. What services do you offer, and how do you get paid?
The most coveted financial advisors will have access to a team of specialists that can provide advice in many types of situations. After all, proper financial planning requires tax knowledge, legal knowledge, and experience in many other specialized areas that a single advisor can’t always provide.
To find advisors who are supported by a team of professionals, look for those that offer a full suite of Wealth Management services. A comprehensive package should provide assistance in planning your savings and retirement, managing your expenses, optimizing your taxes, and planning your estate.
In addition, don’t overlook how your financial professional is compensated. Do they make money when they sell you products, or does their compensation increase with the value of your portfolio? And don’t forget to ask if they are a fiduciary. A fiduciary is obligated to act in your best interest, and unfortunately, some financial professionals do not carry this obligation.
As you can see, the process of securing your financial future can be complex. That’s why it’s important to have the right professionals on your team to guide you.
5. If you become my financial advisor, what will my portfolio look like?
Different people and plans call for different types of investments. For example, it’s probably not smart to lock away your wealth in fixed income when you are a young risk taker saving for a retirement that is 30 years from now. On the other hand, a portfolio that is overweighted in stocks or other risky assets as you near retirement can be devastating if markets decline.
Competent advisors will diversify your assets, which means they will avoid putting all your money in one sector or stock. They will adjust your holdings to match your goals as time passes and your situation changes. Investing should be situational and focused on meeting your unique goals, so, there is no single, perfect portfolio that works for everybody.
Are there other questions that women should ask their financial advisor?
There are many more questions that can and should be asked of your advisor, but these five questions are a great start. Asking these questions will not only help you get a better feel for an advisor, but they can help the advisor get to know you and your situation.
In the end, you should find an advisor that you can trust to educate you and to invest your savings confidently. If you are looking for an advisor, or if you aren’t happy with your current situation, give Brookstone Wealth Management a call. Our comprehensive wealth management plan, Financial Fingerprint™, is quick to assemble, easy to understand, and simple to modify as circumstances change.
At Brookstone Wealth Management, we offer a complete suite of Wealth Management services, supported by an experienced team of financial and legal professionals. We are owned and led by women, and we focus on coaching, teaching, and mentoring our clients. We’d love the opportunity to help you find your True North.