9 Questions to Ask A Financial Advisor
Are you planning to hire a financial advisor? A financial advisor serves as a financial planning partner who can guide you on matters related to investment, insurance, taxes, and asset management. Hiring the right financial advisor can leave a lasting impact on the value of your assets. They can help you achieve the financial security you desire for yourself and your family. If you are an ultra-high net worth individual holding over $10 million in liquid assets, we suggest you start by reading this exclusive guide on finding a financial advisor for ultra-high net worth families.It can help you understand which questions to ask financial advisor before you hire them.
At Pillar Wealth Management, our team holds a combined experience of 60 years in all aspects of wealth management. We utilize a host of tools and techniques that help you manage your wealth strategically and realize your goals. As a fiduciary advisory firm, your interests come first for us. Our team can help you prioritize your goals and achieve financial serenity. Reach out to us for a free consultation.
In this article, we will discuss important questions you need to ask a potential financial advisor. You’ll find some basic questions such as asking them,“How will our relationship work?” and “What’s your investment philosophy?” There are also more in-depth questions like “What asset allocation will you use?” and “How do you measure portfolio risk?”
1. How Will Our Relationship Work?
If you are preparing a list of questions to financial advisor, we recommend asking them how they will work with you. For instance, how often can you expectthe two of you to review your investment strategy? Will they meet up with you in person or engage via telephonic conversations? Will they be actively involved in every aspect of managing your wealth? Who else can you expect to work with?
Asking about these aspects helps clarify your expectations from the get-go. It helps to know whether your financial advisor will take on a hands-on approach or vice versa. In our experience, the more involved they are, the better they’ll be at looking after your assets.
2. What Is Your Investment Philosophy?
Always ask your financial advisor, “What is your investment philosophy?” before you hire them.
It helps you make sure you are working with someone with similar ideals regarding wealth management. If you and your financial advisor are not on the same page and have different investment philosophies, it can create trouble for you.
Here are some examples of investment philosophies that you may adopt:
• Investing in undervalued securities with the expectation of their price appreciating in the future
• Investing in growth stocks belonging to companies with the capacity to see an increase in their earnings
• Investing in securities belonging to companies that share the same values as you
• Investing on the basis of historical data to discover market patterns and using them to buy and sell securities
Typically, a financial advisor should be flexible and open to developing an investment strategy that aligns with your investment philosophy. Financial advisors are required to behave as a fiduciary. This means that they must put your interests above their own.
If you and your financial advisor have different investment philosophies, it can lead to a conflict of interest. To learn why working with a fiduciary is important, read our guide on finding a financial advisor suitable for high net worth and ultra-high net worth investors.
3. How Will You Allocate My Assets?
When you are meeting a financial advisor, be sure to ask them, “What asset allocation will you use?”
The answer to this will determine the kind of portfolio diversification you can expect. Many wealth managers fail to diversify an investor’s portfolio properly. Let’s take a moment to see how diversification works to understand this better. A diversified portfolio is one that carries investments across different asset classes. Typically, there are three assets types in a portfolio. These are cash, bonds, and stocks.
Now, let’s suppose that your financial advisor adds 10 different stocks from the pharmaceutical sector to your portfolio. Does this mean your portfolio is diversified? No, it does not. Even if you are investing in different stocks, your asset class hasn’t changed. Tour financial advisor also needs to include some percentage of bonds and cash in your portfolio to diversify it.
The type of asset allocation used also depends on your investment goals and your risk tolerance. For example, young investors have higher risk tolerance. Therefore, their asset allocation can contain a higher percentage of stocks vs. bonds and cash. Conversely, older and risk-averse investors can have portfolios with more bonds and cash.
If you want to learn more about asset allocation, read our guide on how high net worth families can boost portfolio performance.
4. How Will You Measure and Control My Portfolio Risk?
Understanding how much risk you are taking on when you invest in an asset is a vital consideration for all investors. So, when you are preparing a list ofquestions to ask financial advisor, you should also ask them how they plan to reduce your portfolio risk.
At Pillar Wealth Management, we utilize various techniques for controlling your portfolio risk. For starters, we develop an Efficient Frontier. This allows us tomanage your risk while ensuring you are getting the best possible returns.
If at any point we see your risk levels increase, we can adjust your portfolio to ensure it aligns with your risk appetite.
If you are interested in learning about the Efficient Frontier, order a hardcover copy of our book – The Art of Protecting Ultra-High Net Worth Portfolios and Estates – Strategies For Families Worth $25 Million To $500 Million. It’s free!
5. What Type of Costs Can I Expect?
As a high net worth investor, you also need to ask about the type of costs you can expect when working with a financial advisor. Many financial advisors won’t be able to give an accurate breakdown of your investment costs. They may tell you about their service fee, but there are other costs that you need to be aware of too. Some examples include capital gain taxes, active management costs, passive management costs, bond sale spread, commissions, and internal expenses.
Knowing about these costs is usually a great way of filtering experienced wealth managers from amateurs. To learn more about how these costs influence your returns, see our guide on selecting a financial advisor for managing over $10 million in liquid assets.
6. How Will You Tailor An Investment Strategy to My Goals?
When you visit a prospective financial advisor, they will likely talk a big game about the investment strategies they use and the various types of securities you can invest in. While this may sound very promising, you need to focus on your goals too.
Instead of asking how a strategy works, you need to ask, how will it help you achieve your goals? Essentially, you need a financial advisor willing to develop a strategy that works for you. After all, your goals are unique and require a custom investment approach to achieve them.
Unfortunately, most investment advisors offer cookie-cutter solutions that do little to help you realize your goals. If you want to avoid a similar fate, you need a financial advisor who will prioritize your goals. That’s not all. The wealth management company you work with should also have a system in place for tracking the progress of your goals.
They should tell you how far along you are after a year, identify what is working and what isn’t, whether you should make a change, etc.
At Pillar Wealth Management, we believe in helping our clients pursue their goals to achieve financial serenity. This type of investment approach doesn’t limit you to earning high returns and minimizing your risks. Instead, it helps you go after what you want and what contributes to your financial security.
Remember, it doesn’t matter how much the next investor is earning. What matters is that you were able to achieve what you set out to do.
7. How Will You Help Me Manage My Tax Burden?
A qualified financial advisor will understand how tax rates work and how they impact your capital gains. As you may be aware, long-term capital gains and short-term capital gains are taxed differently. The former is taxed at 20% for high net worth individuals, while the latter is taxed at 37%.
You need to work with a financial advisor who understands how to balance your short-term and long-term capital gains to control your tax burden in an optimal manner. Your financial advisor should also be able to use your capital losses to offset your tax burden and lower your costs.
At Pillar Wealth Management, we work aggressively to lower your tax costs wherever possible. We also utilize a combination of active and passive management strategies that help you optimize your short-term and long-term gains. This ensures you are earning high returns without incurring high costs in the form of taxes.
Curious to find out more about how we do this?Then talk to our wealth managers in a free consultation session.
8. Have You Worked with High Net Worth Clients Before?
When it comes to seeking wealth management services, experience plays a critical role in your success. Not all financial advisors are equipped to handle high net worth and ultra-high net worth investors with liquid assets worth $5 million to $500 million.
So, when you are wondering what questions to ask financial advisor, be sure to find out about their previous clients too. Have they worked with people with a similar net worth? If so, how did they help them achieve the financial goals?
Discussing past clients also allows you to determine whether a financial advisor has the type of expertise you require.
If you have a net worth of $5 million to $500 million, we can help out. Book a free consultation with our wealth managers and find out how.
9. How Many Clients Do You Have Right Now?
You should ask a financial advisor how many clients they work with at a time. Having a large client base isn’t necessarily a good thing here. While it could mean their services are in demand, it could also indicate that they’re managing multiple clients at a time. As a result, they may not be able to give you their undivided attention.
This type of problem frequently occurs in many Wall Street firms. These firms have an aggressive sales culture, and they require their advisors to sign up as many clients as possible to meet their periodic goals. Whether they can successfully do this plays a deciding role in their retention at the firm and provision of bonuses. Obviously, when someone is under that kind of pressure, their primary focus will be on getting you on board. Since they have taken on numerous other clients in the process too, they won’t be able to provide you with the type of service you need.
At Pillar Wealth Management, we stick to a limited number of clients. This enables us to provide them with comprehensive wealth management services and help them achieve their goals.
In a Nutshell: Questions to Ask Financial Advisor
We hope this article proved a useful guide for which questions to ask financial advisor. Remember, when you are working with a financial advisor, you want to create a long, productive relationship that helps assure your financial security. So, it’s important to ask questions like “How will our relationship work?“What’s your investment philosophy?and“What asset allocation will you use?”
If you happen to be a high net worth individual with $5 million to $500 million in liquid assets, reach out to us today. You can have a discussion with our wealth managers, and we can create a tailored investment strategy that secures your financial legacy.
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