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5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Financial Planner

Managing Your Finances

Hiring a financial planner is an incredibly personal - and important - decision. This is someone who will be perusing the intimate details of your financial life, and could potentially hold your future retirement success in their hands. Most experts agree that anyone would benefit from working with a financial planner, no matter their level of income. However not all financial planners will be a good fit for you. Before you start working with a financial professional, it's a good idea to ask them these five questions:

1. Do you have experience working with military officers? 

Your financial planner isn't there to judge you, their job is to help you make the best of any financial situation. This could mean helping you get the most from the Blended Retirement System and the Thrift Savings plan, developing a new plan now that you are divorced, or figuring out your transition out of uniform. Finding a financial professional that has experience working with other military officers and with a comparable attitude towards risk and similar needs, is a good first step. 

2. What is your net worth, how did you make your money, and how is it growing? 

The best option is to learn from an individual who has already proven their chops on their own money, before they decide to test out their theories on your retirement account. Far from being rude, your financial planner is likely to expect this question and probably has an answer ready to share. Hearing their strategy for growth may help you determine whether or not they would be a good fit for your long-term goals. 

3. Are you willing to sign binding fiduciary and non-disclosure agreements? 

A fiduciary agreement, also known as being held to a fiduciary standard, means that your financial planning professional is required to place your interests above their own -- even when it means they make less money on a trade or sale. Non-disclosure agreements are especially important for high net worth individuals, as this reinforces the standards of privacy required for anyone handling your personal and financial information. 

4. How are you compensated for helping me? 

Financial planners are often making money from a variety of sources: direct hourly or flat-fee payments from clients for managing financial interests and a percentage or fee for trades. It's important to know exactly how your advisor is compensated before you make a final decision (but it's important to remember that you often get what you pay for!)

5. Tell me about a client's success (and a failure!) 

While most professionals are interested in telling you about fantastic success stories, understanding where something went wrong is just as important. Having a candid discussion up-front about how things can go wrong or what helps them go right is an important conversation and will also help you determine if you can trust the advisor. 

Most people find working with a financial planner to shed light on many financial factors they had not considered. You may learn more about financial principles and ways to improve your family fortune – or simply get a plan in place that leaves you feeling more comfortable about your future. 

This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. The information in this material is not intended as investment, tax, or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.


Disclaimer
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by C.L. Sheldon & Company, LLC ), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from C.L. Sheldon & Company, LLC . To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. C.L. Sheldon & Company, LLC is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the C.L. Sheldon & Company, LLC ’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request. DISCLAIMER OF TAX ADVICE: Any discussion contained herein cannot be considered to be tax advice. Actual tax advice would require a detailed and careful analysis of the facts and applicable law, which we expect would be time consuming and costly. We have not made and have not been asked to make that type of analysis in connection with any advice given in this blog post. As a result, we are required to advise you that any Federal tax advice rendered in this blog is not intended or written to be used and cannot be used for the purpose of avoiding penalties that may be imposed by the IRS. In the event you would like us to perform the type of analysis that is necessary for us to provide an opinion, that does not require the above disclaimer, as always, please feel free to contact us.