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Five Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

When in the market for a financial advisor, one size does not fit all. It's important to remember that every person has different, specific financial needs and goals, making their need for a financial advisor specific as well. Finding an advisor who fits the needs and goals of a financial plan can make or break the success of the client. To be successful in finding the right person for the specific financial plan, there are a few questions one must ask. Below are five questions for the initial meeting: 1. Are you a fiduciary and what is the cost? If unfamiliar with the term, a fiduciary is legally appointed and authorized to hold assets in trust for another person. In short, this type of advisor is legally obligated to put client needs above all else. It's important to bring up the topic of compensation early. Getting this conversation out of the way allows for more open and honest conversation about products and services. Knowing how the advisor is paid, and how much, helps to provide clear expectations. Be sure when talking about cost to ask about hidden fees.Especially beware of seemingly low fees. A fee-based advisor usually has a tier structure based on the size of the account. Be aware that most fees are disclosed and discussed before any agreement is signed. 2. Why did you want to be a financial advisor? Finding out why someone decided to become an advisor can provide insight into how they will help their clients. Someone who is motivated to help the client and not just the account can indicate their reasons for getting into the business to begin with. 3. What credentials and licenses do you have? Not everyone has the right knowledge to be a financial planner. Some certifications to look forinclude a PFS or a Personal Financial Specialist, a credential from the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants; ChFC or Chartered Financial Consultant, a credential offered by the American College of Financial Services and typically used by those in the insurance industry; and a CFP or Certified Financial Planner, from the CFP Board of Standards. These are a few of the certifications that indicate how the advisor has been trained and should be a knowledgeable professional. 4. What is your investment approach? Paying attention to this question could determine how successful your financial plan is in the long run. Markets change over time, and if the advisor doesn't have a viable financial strategy to guide the plan, it could mean less money for you. In addition, look for a financial planning firm that offers services you might need in the future, beyond the scope of your initial consultation. Nicholas Wealth Management has a list of services to research on our website before coming to the initial meeting. 5. How often will we be in contact? Will that be with your financial advisor or with another team member? It's important to find out up front if one financial advisor, or members of a team, will be contacting you. Building a healthy financial future is important, and these questions can help move an account in the right direction. The right financial planner could be just five questions away.
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