For many of us, interviewing and hiring someone is not a common occurrence and it can be overwhelming. Whether it’s your first time interviewing a financial planner, or exploring your options to see if there is a better fit, it can be daunting. Finding the right financial advisor for your specific needs may require interviewing several people.
Fortunately, there are strategies and resources to empower you to make the best decision for your family.
There are a number of tremendous questionnaires available online to help you evaluate a financial advisor. These are typically designed to ensure you are asking all the prudent questions for someone advising on your finances. I recommend considering the following questionnaires for your interviewing process:
- The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) | Financial Advisor Comparison Tool – Is your advisor the right one for you?
NAPFA’s Financial Comparison Tool provides an answer key which offers context to the questions you’re asking.
The questionnaires above are essential tools and can help glean information about a financial planner. But before you meet with an advisor and inquire about their services, there are five questions you need to ask yourself first.
Why, might you ask? The questionnaires, and more importantly the answers, will help guide you in making an informed decision.
So before meeting with a financial planner take a moment to write down your expectations for the following questions. Be as specific as possible and use your words. Try not to use industry jargon as it could lead to confusion or inaccurately reflect your sentiments.
- What are your expectations for the Financial Advisor and/or Planning Firm?
The following questions may help provoke your answers.
- What type of impact do they have on the community?
- Do they have a particular niche or wide-ranging expertise?
- What clients do they aspire to serve?
- Are their values similar to mine?
- How do you expect the Financial Planning Process to unfold?
- Will there be multiple meetings and/or multiple phases throughout the year?
- How much time will elapse if there are multiple phases?
- Is there anything regarding your finances you be unwilling to share?
- Do you have any expectations regarding Investments?
- Do you have a personal investment philosophy, if so; does it coincide with the interviewee?
- How involved are you hoping to be with investment decisions?
- Would you prefer implementing recommendations on your own?
- What do you expect from your relationship with your Financial Advisor and/or Planning Firm?
- Would you prefer working with a solo practitioner or a team of professionals?
- What is the most effective way for someone to communicate with you?
- Do you welcome a personal connection?
- What are you expecting to accomplish?
- Are there only a few specific goals you need to address?
- Are you hoping to establish financial structure?
- Are you striving to form a long-term partnership with a trusted professional?
Feel free to use the questions I have outlined above or simply use them to reflect on what is most important to you when selecting a financial planner.
A thorough questionnaire can be a beneficial tool when comparing financial advisors and an important part of your due diligence. Yet the most important interview may be the one you conduct alone.
You may not be speaking to the right advisor if the financial advisors you’re meeting with do not resonate with you. For more information about how advisors can help you, please contact us.