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10 Questions for Your
Financial Advisor

Searching for a new financial advisor? How can you tell whether the advisor has the right experience and knowledge for your needs and goals. Below are 10 great questions to ask a financial advisor to determine whether they're right for you.

10 Questions for Your Financial Advisor - Experience
 

What Experience Do You Have?

Ask the financial advisor about his or her philosophy, previous work experience and results. The advisor can also relate the answers to the company.

   
10 Questions for Your Financial Advisor - Qualifications
 

What Are Your Qualifications?

A “financial advisor” is a broad term. What specifically qualifies them to offer financial advice? Are recognized as a certified financial planner, a certified public accountant/personal financial specialist, or a chartered financial consultant? Do they have any other professional designations? Ask about continuing education, and how they stay current in the financial planning field.

   
10 Questions for Your Financial Advisor - Services
 

What Services Do You Offer?

Find out what services the financial advisor offers, and if they match your needs. Financial advisors generally cannot sell insurance or securities products - such as mutual funds or stocks - without proper licenses. Nor can they give investment advice, unless registered with state or federal authorities.

   
10 Questions for Your Financial Advisor - Planning Approach
 

What Is Your Approach to Financial Planning? 

Most financial planners have a typical client profile and financial situation they like to work with. Some planners offer comprehensive plans; others work on a project basis or for an hourly rate.

   
10 Questions for Your Financial Advisor - Main Contact
 

Will You Be the Only Person Working With Me?

Ask who will be your main contact and who else might be working with you.
     
10 Questions for Your Financial Advisor - Service
 

How Do I Pay for Your Services?

Fee-only. All fees are paid by the client with no commissions
Commission. Payments are based on products sold to you
Salary. The planner is paid from commissions you pay the company
     
10 Questions for Your Financial Advisor - Pricing
 

How Much Do You Typically Charge?

Always ask for an estimate, based on your needs. The estimate could be an hourly rate, flat fee or percentage of commissions.
     
10 Questions for Your Financial Advisor - Recommendations
 

Could Anyone, Besides Me, Benefit From
Your Recommendations?

Ask about potential conflicts of interests. Does the planner receive fees based on referrals or do they participate in company incentive programs?
     
10 Questions for Your Financial Advisor - Disclosures
 

Have You Ever Been Publicly Disciplined for Any Unlawful or Unethical Actions in Your Professional Career?

Check for disciplinary actions for CFP practitioners on the CFP website. Be sure they are registered with the state or the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. The planner must be able to provide you with a disclosure form, Form ADV Part II, or the form’s state equivalent.
     
10 Questions for Your Financial Advisor - Agreement
 

May I Have That in Writing?

Have the financial advisor give you a written agreement, detailing the services to be provided. Keep this document in your files.

 
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Life brings many transitions. Find the right advisor to fit your needs on a fee-only basis, and take the first step in the journey. Total Wealth Planning's team of Certified Financial Planners® guides Cincinnati families and associates through transition.
 
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