Too often investment professionals simply act as middlemen, merely facilitating stock transactions and offering little, if any, real advice or guidance.
If you can't remember the last time you heard from your investment professional, maybe it's time you switched from an order-taker to someone who takes the time to get to know your individual situation and tailors an investment plan based on your goals, not hers.
Forge a Relationship with your Wealth Advisor
Too often we see new clients who say their previous advisor never called them. Some haven’t heard from their advisor in years. We find that astounding and disturbing. Having been in the business for over 25 years, we understand that when the stock market is down, client portfolios are suffering and investors’ financial peace of mind suffers. We want to be there to guide you through the bad times as well as the good ones. In fact, guiding you through the worst of times is one of the most important parts of our role with clients and where we add the most value.
Most people's lives and financial goals are continually changing, so it makes sense for investors to meet with their advisor at least once a year. This allows for both of us to see if you are on track with your financial goals, to assess whether your portfolio is appropriately aligned with your risk tolerance, to discuss the progress you have made for the past year, and to determine if you have any financial or estate changes that need to be addressed. The past decade has brought some very uncertain times, and now more than ever, investors need reassurance, perspective and ongoing advice.
Is Your Wealth Advisor Doing His or Her Job?
There are several ways to tell if your advisor is up to the challenge of helping you manage your financial future:
Does he call you or do you always have to call him? Does he return your calls promptly?
Does she listen to your individual financial goals and offer suggestions based on your actual situation?
Does he explain why he is making a given investment recommendation?
Does she only call you when times are good or to sell you something?
Do you know what you are actually paying your advisor?
Do you talk about your financial planning on, at least, an annual basis?
Is your financial advisor a Certified Financial Planner™?
How long has your advisor been in the industry and does he collaborate with other advisors in his office on your behalf?
Retirement Plan Advisors: What Are Your Retirement Plans?
Never before have so many people retired so early, lived so long and been so completely on their own in managing their retirement savings. Employees can no longer rely on their company's pension plan manager to handle all of their retirement income needs. Many employers don’t offer an employer-paid pension today. Savvy investors need to be more self-sufficient and personally-accountable for funding and managing their own retirement nest egg than ever before, or risk falling short of their retirement savings goal and possibly having to defer their retirement.
Have you ever heard the observation “Most people don’t plan to fail, they simply fail to plan?" This describes many Americans who are nearing retirement. Many workers and small business owners are doing what they can to save and invest for the future, but most are saving without a plan. When we say having a plan is important we don't simply mean deciding when you'd like to retire. We mean determining how much money you want to have saved before retirement and how you intend to amass that nest egg.
When you start your retirement planning process with your wealth advisor, she should start with broad questions that begin to uncover specific issues about your individual situation. Your advisor should ask about your career, job, family, inheritances, real estate, savings, retirement goals and your estate plans. This would lead to where you would like to be in five years, ten years, and 20 years. Then, together, you and your advisor can create a retirement plan uniquely tailored just for you and your family.
If you do not feel you are receiving this level of attention, it may be time to consider talking with other financial advisors who can provide this for you.