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5 Questions for Your Financial Advisor Thumbnail

5 Questions for Your Financial Advisor

With our last post (How to Avoid "Indecision Prison" With Your Retirement Investments) we discussed "indecision prison" and consequences investors encounter with their retirement savings. Many face a similar dilemma when deciding which advisor should manage their retirement resources.

You may find yourself in the middle of this dilemma right now. If you've been scanning the financial headlines lately, you may have noticed that there are some new Department of Labor (DOL) rules in play with respect to your retirement accounts. They were intended to ensure any advice you receive about your retirement assets is fiduciary – i.e., strictly in your highest interests. But, since final implementation has been a political football lately, the end game is anybody's guess.

So how can you stay out of indecision prison when choosing a financial advisor? Cut yourself a break. Find one who is eager to fulfill their fiduciary duty to deliver a best interest standard of care with respect to your retirement assets … or for all of your investments, for that matter. That's regardless of how the letter of the law plays out. Ask them these sorts of questions:

1) How are you paid? (We recommend a transparent fee-only model versus a commission based approach offered by many advisors.)
2) What is your recommended investment strategy? (Is it consistent with your needs and goals?)
3) What is your primary business? (Is the "advisor" a broker or agent whose primary role is to transact trades or sell insurance?)
4) What is your client experience? (How well will they get to know you before advising you?)
5) Where will my investments be held? (This should be at an arm's length, third-party custodian.)

A few years back, we provided a link to a Q&A published by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which provides even more questions you can ask. As an Independent Registered Investment Advisor firm, we are happy to answer all these questions as well, so you can quickly escape indecision prison!