Working with An Advisor
Whether you are a new or experienced investor, your objectives and needs are unique to your situation. Your Investment Advisor can be your navigator, objective second opinion, and/or a sounding board to help assess how well your investment strategies balance with your needs, risk tolerance and objectives. When your needs and objectives extend to more than your investment strategy, then you need the services of a Financial Planner.
Financial planning is a process that sets a framework and road map for how you can steer toward your life goals and aspirations through the management of your financial affairs. As a first step toward achieving financial goals, establish a clear and realistic plan of how to reach them. Among the people to interview to develop your financial goals and plan are a number of financial professionals — investment counsellors, securities brokers, financial planners, and licensed insurance representatives who are trained to clarify your goals and help you develop a financial plan.
Obtaining investment and financial advice that is suited to you is about finding an advisor who is not just qualified to give advice, but more important aligns well with your personal comfort. Having the right person to help you develop a plan is an essential confidence builder to assist in the pursuit of your long term goals. The right advisor can help you choose appropriate investments, identify opportunities, and help avoid cost and costly mistakes that could misguide your investment and financial plans. As important as it is to earn competitive returns, considerations such as the proper alignment of your investment strategies to your objectives and the ability to stay invested are keys to long term wealth creation.
How Can a Financial Planner Help?
Financial planners can assist in many ways which are dependent on your personal situation and your intentions within a client /advisor relationship. A financial planner can:
- Help you identify your short tem and long term goals;
- Assess your current financial situation;
- Clarify your investment objectives;
- Design a customized and realistic strategy;
- Provide options and referral opportunites on tax, retirement, and estate planning;
- Estimate your insurance needs;
- Keep you focused on long term goals
So where is the value of advice? It is in the comfort and security of a second opinion, the preparation of an independent plan for the future, and the potential benefit of better financial decisions through process and discipline.
Choosing an Investment Advisor or Financial Planner
You have many choices for investing. When choosing an investment advisor or financial planner, comfort and confidence in the ability of your advisor to make independent selection from a broad menu of investment alternatives is essential. You want someone who understands your objectives and risk tolerance, and who respects your opinions. The investment advisor or financial planner should also have the qualifications and experience to help achieve your investment and financial goals.
Things to consider when choosing your Financial Planner
#1 A Comprehensive Assessment and Long Term Planning
A good financial planner will take you through a step-by-step process to assess your present situation, taking into consideration current investments, savings, debts, insurance, income, and circumstances, as well as your short term and long term goals, and your tolerance for risk. They’ll then work with you to develop a comprehensive plan and communicate the steps to take.
How long has the advisor been in the business? Have they worked with people like you? Can they provide references? In addition to asking questions such as these, a simple way to assess the level of a financial planner’s expertise is by their credentials.
#3 Disclosure on Compensation
Financial planners can be compensated in a variety of ways. You’ll want to find out whether the financial planner earns commissions on products sold or other upfront commissions, or earns annual fees.
#4 Provide Access To A Complete Range of Products
A well balanced investment portfolio may require a range of products from term deposits to market based investments. As well, an overall financial plan may need to include various insurance products. Can the financial planner provide access to these?
#5 The Financial Planner Should Be Backed By A Team of Specialists
Ideally, a financial planner should have access to a range of experts. A team approach facilitates broader advice you may require to meet investment, wealth management, insurance, or debt management objectives.
Your Responsibilities To Your Financial Planner
- Ask questions
- Commit to achieving your goals
- Disclose information
- Express your risk tolerance
- Go to meetings prepared
- Keep the financial planner up to date on your situation
- Keep documentation
- Provide feedback about financial planner’s services
- Respond quickly
- Stay informed about your investments
Once you have chosen a financial planner, the real work begins. Like any relationship, a client/financial advisor relationship requires attention and continued maintenance. Ongoing and open communication is a key to a long term partnership. If you know what to expect from a financial planner and what a financial planner expects from you, you’re chances of success improve from the start.
Our Investment Advisors and Financial Planners are here to help recommend solutions. To learn more, please contact an Investment Advisor or Financial Planner today.