What are the Right Questions to ask for Retirement Planning, when setting up your initial meeting with a firm or individual advisor to work with?
It’s important you know the right questions to ask. My job is to give you some food for thought for your initial meeting.
Hello again, Dave Duley here with Georgia advisor group located in Alpharetta, Georgia. A registered investment advisory firm and working with families for 40 years on Building Wealth and income. If you want to continue to get great content regarding finances, then subscribe below and each time we put out a video you’ll get notified.
So let’s Dive Right in, to start with leave your checkbook at home. The initial meeting is about commonality meaning this firm or advisors over a philosophy is it in line with yours? Remember this is going to be a long-term relationship no different than a marriage. So, if we don’t see eye to eye on just basic fundamentals, most likely when tough decisions come, it begins to crack the foundation.
First and foremost is experience, Ask how long the Firm has been around. Just because someone holds a particular license and received a 72 passing grade, doesn’t mean they have the experience to handle your accounts.
They may have many certifications, which does indicate they have put the work in and qualify to handle your accounts, but it doesn’t mean they’ve been through different types of markets.
Ask how the firm is set up, in other words, what does the back office look like? Do they have accounting services, tax preparation in-house? Do they do actual trading in-house? or Do they Outsource my money to fund managers based on maybe just risk tolerance? Do they have insurance experts in-house? Where I can discuss old policies I have or whether long-term nursing home coverage makes sense? or Do I self-insure? Do I have 24/7 access to my account at all times? and Do I have the right to trade if I want to?
Third I want to know how they get paid. Is it fee only and how is it built up front or in arrears? Is it quarterly or monthly? Ask to see The Advisory agreement ahead of time and don’t be afraid to ask questions about things you’re not sure about. Definitely ask for referrals this is a big one where you have permission to call them directly.
Ask the referral how long they’ve been with the advisor and how they initially met. Ask what they like and don’t like about their experience with the advisor and here’s to me one of the big ones that most people are afraid to ask. May I see your personal portfolio? What are you currently invested in? I hardly ever get this question and I think it’s important. Don’t get caught up on the size of their account that they show you but if they are embarrassed to show you or the amounts are so small, it may tell you that they’re not really good at handling their own family finances.
As a Young Man starting I know I was scared to death to get this question put to me as I was just starting out, but over time I realized I must walk the talk and not just show the appearance of success. If you run for public office or have a position as a fiduciary, most people must disclose their information. You’re fiction too or you’re about to Bear your financial history to a complete stranger and where you currently are with in your savings or Investments.
Why not ask to see his or her portfolio? It won’t take you long to discover their openness or lack of it. In deciding whether this firm is a great group to work with. That’s how often they like to meet to discuss life changes and what format they have for continued communication, whether it is a newsletter or quarterly meetings. As specifically, their investment strategy is, it funds stocks, ETFs? How often do they trade what will be the tax implications? Another is the key for me is how do they protect my portfolio for major swings in the markets?
They can show me exactly how they do this or they just just may give me some general statement like, well, we’re good at picking stocks or picking positions that I don’t want to hear. The difficult part is getting started and having an open mind. For the most part great advisors are there to help you and have your best interest in mind. Always take your wife with you to these meetings. I just believe they have an innate ability to pick up on things that usually us guys miss. Now that’s not to say today that most women don’t handle their own accounts, but rather to say two sets of eyes on something is better than one.
We tend to forget to ask all the right questions sometimes, so the more input the better but you have a responsibility to be up front so the advisor can also decide, whether you’re a good fit or not for them. I know for my firm we are picking who we decide to work with and because we know it’s a great responsibility, we want it to also be a fun experience. We want to know we can handle that new family as if it were our only client by giving them the attention that they deserve on an ongoing basis. Therefore, knowing how many families or clients they are currently working with as a firm it’s very important also.
Bottom line, you should leave that first meeting knowing you’re in great hands with a firm that has your interest in mind and you feel comfortable. You’ve done your homework.
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Till next time.