1. How are you compensated? -- You deserve to know how advisors that you're considering working with will make money off of your account. Make sure you visualize potential conflicts of interest in your relationship. For instance, is the advisor you're considering working with ALWAYS a "fee-only" advisor?... Or does she or he receive commissions from her/his employer based on the sale of certain products or making a recommendation of a specific in-house strategy?
2. Do you always operate as a Fiduciary? – A suitability standard is not the same as a fiduciary standard. Few advisors are fiduciaries 100% of the time. Some put their fiduciary hats on-and-off, depending on the situation. A fiduciary that’s always “ON” can only recommend the BEST available strategy for you. That’s not the same as recommending a product that’s merely “suitable” for your situation, where the advisor stands to benefit disproportionately.
3. Can you explain a financial concept to me? – Working with a financial planner is about more than just putting your money to work. There's a lot of hand-holding, teamwork and communication involved. Financial education is a priceless source of value that financial advisors can provide. Unfortunately, some advisors are excessively technical and make no sense, while others come-off as high & mighty. If an advisor lacks empathy and is giving you explanations to financial concepts that are filled with jargon, maybe she or he is not the right one for you.
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