Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Advisor


When it comes to money, people do not mess around. When your money is invested there is no way to control how the investments do. However, who one choses to handle and manage their money is something you can control. When choosing a financial advisor a lot of careful research must be done. Start your search by asking those closest to you for referrals. More specifically, reach out to those whose financial needs may be similar to yours. Before meeting with any potential advisors, look them up on your own. Look at their professional profiles on LinkedIn to get a feel for the advisor and the firm they are a part of.

Once you have chosen a few potential advisors, schedule meetings. This meeting is your chance to interview the advisor. Here are some questions you should ask:

1. How do you charge for your advisory services?

Is there an initial planning fee? Do they charge a percentage, a base fee or make money by selling a product such as insurance. You want to make sure you understand how much their services will cost you before the work starts so you won’t be hit with a bill you cannot afford in the end.

2. What licenses and/or certifications do you have?

When looking for someone to manage your money you want someone who is a registered investment advisor (RIA). If you are a small business owner or simply have an income that is higher than most, you will typically want a certified public accountant (CPA). Most CPA’s have the personal financial specialist certification. This certification proves that they can assists clients with complete financial planning.

3. What services does your firm offer?

This is another way of asking what services they cannot offer you. Some advisors are only able to simply provide you with advice regarding your investments while others can offer widespread financial planning including, retirement, insurance, estate planning and/or tax planning. Figure what you need and find someone that can help.

4. What kinds of clients do you specialize in?

Similar to lawyers and doctors, financial advisors have a niche in which they have more interest in than others. If you break a bone you’d want to see an orthopedic rather than a neurologist, right? Same goes for financial advisors. If you are setting up a retirement plan you want to find an advisor that concentrates in that area. 

If you are from a big city like New York, the search can be a little more difficult due to the overwhelming amount of registered financial professionals. While handling a situation such as retirement, start your search by only looking for New York certified retirement financial advisors. This will put your mind at ease knowning you will later be working with someone that excels in the area you need.