If you have the suspicion that your investment professional may not be the best fit for your needs, you could be right -- and you're not alone.
We often hear tales of less-than-stellar performance and unmet expectations from new clients who've just "broken up" with their last financial planner or are considering a change.
While every situation is, of course, unique, there are a few red flags that you really shouldn't ignore. Here are a few warning signs that it may be time to say goodbye to your current financial planner.
Your Investment Professional Has Poor Communication Skills
Communication is key in any relationship. That's why inadequate communication is among the most cited factors behind advisor switches. While most investors understand that the market has up and downs that can affect short-term performance, when underwhelming performance is combined with less-than-stellar communication, it's often a deal-breaker.
While most investors don't need to be attached at the hip -- or the cell phone -- to their advisor, they do need to feel like their investments are being monitored and they should expect to hear from their advisor periodically. But if your calls aren't being returned in a timely manner? It may be time to move on.
Your Investment Firm's High Fees Are Offsetting Your Returns
If your financial advisor follows an active investing approach, you're probably paying more than you should in fees and expenses. The exact amount can be hard to determine; in fact, many investment professionals seem to "accidently on purpose, keep the true costs of investing tucked away in indecipherable statements and confusing language.
And that's not even to mention the added cost -- and the inherent conflict of interest -- of working with an advisor who is paid through commissions.
Your Investment Professional's Education and Training are Less Than Impressive
Did you know that almost anyone who passes a basic licensing can put "Financial Advisor" on a shingle and hang it out for business? All that's required is passing an entry level test such as the Series 7, 63 or 65.
In some cases, investment professionals don't need to meet any educational, training or evaluative requirements before they handle other people's money. Pretty scary when you consider what's at stake.
If your advisor's experience and expertise aren't holding up under scrutiny, seek out a wealth advisor with advanced education in topics such as finance, investing, estate planning or taxes.
While breaking up is never easy, your financial well-being may depend on it -- so treat the break-up like removing a band-aid. Get it over with cleanly and quickly so you can move on.