Questions to Ask When Choosing a Financial Advisor

This year I found myself looking for a doctor after 25 years of working with one that I met in my twenties. It occurred to me that finding a doctor that understands one's health needs is very similar to finding a financial advisor that people can trust to take care of their financial needs.

With the medical industry becoming increasingly more complicated, many doctors have increased the size of their practices to the extent that a more personalized experience is harder to come by. Time spent in waiting rooms is increasing, costs are increasing and doctor/patient interaction times are decreasing. I was searching for a more individualized relationship. I wanted a doctor that is proactive about my health, is focused on nutrition and exercise, and who actually has time for me. Equally important is the ability for communication via email, on-going education and access to the latest research and medical advances. Lastly, I wanted to make sure that they worked with people in my age group. (For related reading, see: How to Distinguish Advisors From Salespeople.)

My Search Process

  • I asked for referrals via my social media network and close friends.
  • I visited a few doctor’s offices with questions in hand.
  • I stepped back and evaluated my findings, asking: How are they different? Do they have credibility? Do they work with people like me? Did I feel they would be proactive and help me stay on the healthy path I was on? Did I feel a level of connectivity with the doctor and their practice?

Ultimately, I chose to go with a concierge practice. While there is an annual fee to be part of the practice, I felt that it was headed in a direction that would best take care of me. The practice is current on medical topics and has access to the best medical partnerships. Its goal is to coordinate my care with other specialists if I need it; to be my quarterback. I’m happy to pay for the knowledge and care that these doctors bring to the table.

This experience prompted me to think about how and why people choose a financial advisory practice. I smiled when I realized that the values and services are similar—as are the questions one should be asking. (For related reading, see: 6 Steps to Selecting a Great Financial Advisor.)

Take a Similar Approach to Finding an Advisor 

  • Are they proactive in thinking ahead and planning for future life events? Do they provide clients with educational information every couple of weeks?
  • Do they recognize the need to be digital? Do they give clients access to their accounts via digital tools such as Account View; do they invest in the best financial planning and rebalancing tools to ensure they stay financially balanced over their life’s journey?
  • Do they work well with other professionals? Are they coordinating relationships with their related professionals such as attorneys and accountants; being a personal CFO?
  • Are they a certified financial planner? This shows dedication to lifelong learning that will provide clients with the most recent and up-to-date financial planning techniques.
  • Do they work with people like me? Is it a practice that strives to create an exclusive experience where clients are part of the family?

Whether you are looking for a doctor or a financial advisor, this is an important decision. I hope my personal experience helps you with your choices. May you be healthy and wealthy. (For related reading, see: Fiduciary Advisors vs. Commission-Based Advisors.)

 

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.