Looking at the big picture? Finding a long-term financial adviser can really pay off, so make sure they’re right for the job by following our four-point questionnaire.
Choosing an adviser for the long term is different from finding someone who can help you find a temporary place to save money, or sell you a few investment products. Here are three things to consider:
• A broad range of products: As you get older and have more money to invest, you’ll likely want to change the way you invest. Perhaps you’ve invested in Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) and mutual funds, and are now looking into other investments.
• Someone you can work with: You’ll spend more time with an adviser who is helping you with longer-term planning, and the personal connection will make a difference.
• Someone who will stay with you: Seek out companies that value long-term relationships. That may rule out a workplace adviser because you or the adviser could change jobs. Instead, look for a qualified advisor who is independent of your workplace.
Once you’ve got a long-term adviser in mind, use this checklist to help you evaluate them. The more “yes” answers, the better the fit for you.
1. Comfort is Key
Does this adviser make me feel comfortable and fully understood?
Y N Comes across as the kind of person I want to work with for years to come
Y N Seems to understand me as a person and can relate to my goals
Y N Has other clients like me
Y N Has an approach to investing that I understand and feel comfortable with
Y N Feels like someone I can trust to put my interests first Y N Shows an understanding of my feelings about risk
Y N Gives me a feeling of trust when I share personal information
2. Emphasize Expertise
Does this adviser show me a high level of professional skill and knowledge?
Y N Has a strong background, with good references and a demonstrated track record
Y N Is qualified and works for a company that is known and trusted
Y N Shows me different models and mixes of investments to help me reach my goals
Y N Will monitor and change the mix of my portfolio from time to time as conditions change
Y N Helps me to develop an investment policy statement including target rate of return and tolerance for risk
Y N Works with a broad range of products to help me find the right investments for my stage in life
Y N Can give advice in key areas including taxes, managing debt, investing, insurance, and estate planning, and can bring in other experts as needed
Y N Shows me how I can get long-term growth that compares well with the overall market
3. Personality is a Plus
Is this adviser easy to work with?
Y N Answers my questions clearly and patiently
Y N Clearly explains the risks in any investment
Y N Explains other options and the pros and cons
Y N Provides quarterly performance reports so I will know how I’m doing
Y N Is willing to speak with me throughout the year
Y N Will meet with me at least once a year to talk over my finances
4. Bargain for Your Buck
Does this adviser charge competitive fees?
Y N Explains fees and any extra charges clearly, in advance, so there are no surprises
Y N Provides value for what they charge