Are you looking to get your financial house in order? Market volatility is real, and it’s projected to get worse before it gets better. Retirement planning, reviewing your investing strategy, and setting up an emergency fund can be a lot easier with a pro. In our Millennial Study, we found that the majority of those we recently surveyed aspired to start financial planning, and most preferred to have their serious investing handled by a professional advisor. But for many, the prospect of meeting with a financial advisor can be intimidating, and a little stressful. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to, because I’m here for you. With 16 years of financial advising experience, here are my 6 tips on what NOT to say, to a financial advisor.
- Just do whatever you want, I trust you.
Don’t get me wrong, trusting your financial advisor is very important, but you are still the CEO of your household’s finances. Investing is a long-term experience and success is often quantified by many factors including reaching your financial planning goal, communication, and performance. Take advantage of the time you spend with your financial advisor and soak in the knowledge. Learn how proper financial planning and investing works, some basic terminology, and be involved in determining whether or not something is risk appropriate for you. If you understand what you’re invested in, you’ll be able to quantify whether an investment portfolio has met your planning goals. And most of all, just like meeting with a doctor, attorney, or other professional, the better communication you have with your advisor, the better likelihood for long-term success.
- At the first meeting, don’t ask: What’s your performance?
This is the million dollar question and one almost every client has asked. The reason why it isn’t a good idea is because without knowing all your financial planning factors, it’s impossible for someone to give you a true answer.
I tell my clients, it’s like looking at a piece of bare land and saying, how much for a red sofa? You need the architecture plans long before picking the furniture just like you should have a proper financial plan before even delving into selecting the investments. Every investment has different performance and fees. No two people are the same and performance numbers will differ.
- Will I get box tickets to the next Super Bowl? Or what else will you do for me if I’m your client?
You may wonder where this came from, but you’d be surprised how many advisors have been asked a variation of this question. Remember, your advisor is here to manage your investments. He/she is not a bookie and certainly isn’t allowed to give out big gifts. In fact, the investment regulatory powers to that be, clearly prohibits us from doing so.
- Who else do you manage money for and what are they invested in?
Financial advisor 101, we are bound by some of the strictest client confidentiality rules on the planet and speaking with you about your money is similar to speaking with your OBGYN or divorce attorney. What is said to us, stays with us. If our existing clients would like to share their experiences, that’s their right to do so, but we are unable prefer not to comment on whom we manage for.
- I was introduced to you by ‘so and so’… I want what they have.
Unless you’ve been cloned and are the same exact person as the friend who introduced you, this isn’t the best idea. As human beings, we have our own preferences, life experiences, and many unique factors that must be taken into consideration when building your portfolio. For our clients, we believe every client’s portfolio should have some element of customization. It’s AKA the “Know Your Client” rule.
- How busy are you? I want the advisor with the most time on their hands.
Think about this request for a minute. If you needed medical care, would you go into the hospital find the surgeon with the most open calendar? There are always exceptions to every case, but often this will lead right to the rookie in the office, or someone with another reason. Either way, experience, reputation, and busy can potentially also mean lower fees and better credibility.
I hope you find these tips helpful and look forward to speaking about your financial plans. With a little preparation, your experience is sure to be rewarding.
Winnie Sun is a wealth advisor to small business owners, senior executives, celebrities, and established families throughout the United States. She has appeared on CNBC Closing Bell, Fox Business News, Huff Post LIVE, and is founder of the TheMillennialStudy.com. Reach out for a complimentary consultation and follow her on Twitter: @sungroupwp.