When it comes to managing your finances, you don’t want to wing it or leave it to chance. Partnering with a financial advisor can help you make the best decisions for your future. But with so many advisors, how do you choose the right one for you? Here are five questions to ask when selecting a financial advisor:
1. What are your experience and qualifications?
As someone looking to invest your money, you want to ensure you’re working with a qualified and experienced financial advisor. There are a few reasons why experience and qualifications are essential for financial advisors.
- An experienced financial advisor will better understand the market and how it works. He or she can give personalized advice on where to invest your money and how to optimize your wealth.
- A qualified financial advisor will have extensive training and be up to date on the latest investment strategies. He or she can provide sound advice based on his or her knowledge and expertise.
- Working with an experienced and qualified financial advisor can give you financial confidence knowing you’re working with someone knowledgeable and capable of helping you pursue your financial goals.
With nearly 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, I have a comprehensive understanding of the market and what it takes to help my clients pursue the financial future they desire.
2. Do you have any specialties or areas of focus?
When choosing a financial advisor, you should consider his or her specialty or area of focus. Specializing in a particular area allows financial advisors to keep up with the latest changes and developments in that field, which can benefit their clients. It also allows them to build relationships with other professionals in that field who can provide additional resources and expertise.
At Stratos Wealth Partners, we specialize in comprehensive financial planning, which means we provide services in all the major areas that could impact your financial plan. This includes:
- Retirement planning
- Investment planning
- Tax planning
- Risk management
- Estate planning
We have developed our process and our professional referrals through years of experience in the industry. Though we cover a lot of different areas, we are deeply knowledgeable about each one and help our clients see the whole picture of their finances.
3. What is your investment philosophy?
An investment philosophy is an important factor when choosing a financial advisor. Many people choose their advisors based on referrals or past performance, but it’s also important to consider the firm’s investment philosophy. An investment philosophy encompasses the firm’s views on asset allocation, risk tolerance, and return expectations. It’s essential to align your investment goals with the philosophy of the firm to avoid conflicts of interest down the road.
At Stratos Wealth Partners, we believe in proper asset allocation and proper investment selection as cornerstones to a strong portfolio. We believe it’s important to both grow your wealth, as well as safeguard it from future market volatility.
4. How do you charge for your services?
This is an important question because you want to be clear on how the financial advisor is compensated for his or her services. Some advisors charge a flat fee, while others charge an hourly rate or a percentage of assets under management.
Our fees are based on which service a client requires. For investment management, we charge a fee based on the size of the assets you would like us to invest. For asset allocation or financial planning advice, we charge an hourly fee. No matter which service you choose, we are always transparent and upfront about your fees, and you’ll have a clear idea of the cost by the end of our initial free consultation.
5. Do you have a fiduciary responsibility to your advisory clients?
This one is critical. A fiduciary responsibility means the advisor has a legal and ethical obligation to act in an advisory client's best interests instead of their own. This doesn’t mean fiduciaries are perfect or always make the right decisions. But it does mean they’re required by law to put your interests first. And if they don’t, they can be held liable.
As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional, I am held to a fiduciary standard by the CFPⓇ Board. I abide by a strict set of ethical standards and a code of conduct in order to hold this designation. I take pride in always putting my clients’ interests ahead of my own.
We’d Love to Work With You
When you’re ready to find a financial advisor, ask these questions to help make the best decision for your situation. Remember, work with someone who understands your goals and who you feel comfortable with. Don’t hesitate to interview several advisors before making a final decision.
You want someone you can trust, who has your best interests at heart, and who will help guide you through the often confusing world of personal finance. If you have any questions or want more information about our services, don’t hesitate to contact us at (330) 576-3912 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liam Guiney is partner, financial advisor, and client portfolio manager at Stratos Wealth Partners, an independent investment advisory firm providing personalized financial plans to help clients pursue their goals. With over 20 years of experience, Liam is dedicated to walking his clients through their financial opportunities and challenges, simplifying the complex so they can focus on what’s most important to them. Liam is known for building long-lasting relationships and focusing on individual needs to develop strategies that will help his clients prepare for their ideal retirements.
Liam graduated from the University of North Carolina Greensboro with a bachelor’s degree and earned a Master of Science at Wake Forest University. He is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. When he’s not working, Liam spends his free time with his wife, Alice, and their son, Nicholas. You can often find him exercising, golfing, or supporting his favorite community organizations through fundraising and volunteering, such as Catholic Charities, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and cancer research organizations. To learn more about Liam, connect with him on LinkedIn.
This material was prepared for Liam Guiney’s use. Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly.