Choosing the right financial advisory team is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make—especially for those with big life goals (and eventually retirement) in their sights.
But putting your financial future in someone else’s hands isn’t something to be taken lightly. You want to find a team you can trust, a team you are confident has your best interest at heart, a group of well-meaning individuals who will be able to help you make some of life’s most complicated decisions so the outcomes tip in your favor.
Unfortunately, it can be hard to know what to look for in a financial advisory team. And even of the best teams of financial advisors out there, not every team will be the right fit for you.
So how can you tell which advisory firm is right for you?
We’ll show you six things to look for and ask in order to find the right people for you and your family—the ones who will guide you through your working years, into retirement, and beyond.
How to Use This Guide:
As you move through this guide, really do some soul-searching. Ask yourself the tough questions about what you want out of your advisory relationship and what kind of engagement level would be preferable for you.
We’ll walk you through it, but really take these thoughts into deeper consideration than just a glance by. You’ll be happy you put in the extra time commitment up front to find exactly what you’re looking for.
1) Is Your Team of Advisors Comprised of People You Can Trust?
When it comes to choosing a team to manage your money, your chief concern will likely be trust.
Who can I trust to help me make the best choices with my assets?
How do I know my plan is set up just for me and not a one-size-fits all approach?
Do I trust that this team is really going to put their best foot forward when it comes to designing my plan?
This may sound ironic, but the answer to all of these questions is in uncovering whether the advisory team is really comprised of actual financial advisors!
You see, there are a ton of service professionals out there who call themselves financial advisors, but they are actually investment managers or brokers.
Investment managers and brokers provide you with ongoing advice on which stocks, bonds, ETFs, and mutual funds to invest in, but they aren’t in the business of giving financial planning advice. Which means if you have questions about how your investments align with your long-term goals, you may be hard pressed to get an answer. How should you align social security benefits with your other resources to generate a predictable income in retirement? This simply isn’t what investment managers do. They handle the investment choices and that’s about the extent of it.
So, beware not to confuse investment management with ongoing financial planning. If you are truly looking for someone to help you with your entire financial picture—not just your investments—you may be sorely disappointed with someone who only manages investments.
Of course, if an investment manager or broker is what you need, there is nothing wrong with working with this type of service provider. But if you seek a more comprehensive view of your entire financial picture, you’ll want to make sure you are working with a team of actual financial planners or wealth managers.
2) Does Your Advisory Team Specialize?
While choosing to work with a financial planner over an investment manager or broker narrows your choice of providers a bit, there are still hundreds of thousands of financial planners out there to choose from. And with everything being digital these days, you aren’t limited to choosing a firm in your locality. You can pick a team to work with virtually who is the right fit.
This being the case, we highly recommend you work with a firm that specializes in working exactly with people like you. Are you a tattoo artist? Find a planner who works with tattoo artists. A physician? There are planners who specialize in working only with physicians. A widow? Divorced? Find the right specialist for you.
When you work with a firm who specializes in your career path or life circumstances, you are getting years of experience, knowledge, and expertise in the exact field or stage of life that you are in. This means the advice you’re getting will be tailored more clearly to your circumstances than it otherwise could be. This can save you a lot of headache (and money) going forward.
3) Does the Firm Have Any Bad Marks Filed Against Them? Perform a Broker Check.
Before you reach out for your Discovery Call, look through the Broker Check Registry and find out if the advisor your researching has any bad reports in their past. If so, you’ll know to cross that advisor off your list right away and move onto the next.
4) How Is Your Advisory Team Paid?
It’s imperative you understand how your advisory team gets paid because you don’t want to overpay for what you’re getting. Or even worse, you enter the relationship expecting a certain level of engagement for your financial commitment, but then don’t receive it.
So how do you figure out how your advisory team gets paid?
There are four common ways firms usually charge for their services:
• Planning Fees
• Assets Under Management (AUM)
• Hybrid Model: Planning Fees + Assets Under Management (AUM)
• Complexity Based Fees
You have some firms who charge a set planning fee for ongoing service, some who charge a percentage of the assets they manage for you each year, those who do a combination of those two, and firms who charge planning fees based on complexity.
With the complexity-based fees, firms will take a look at your resources and financial structure to determine how much it would cost for you to retain their ongoing service. This model is highly unique to you, the client, and is a great way to know that you are getting exactly what you are paying for.
5) What Do You Get for Your Money? Is It Enough?
Once you understand the fee structure, get clear on what that commitment gets you each year, each month, etc.
• Will the team be there to answer your most pressing questions throughout the year or as life circumstances change? Or will they make you wait until your annual review?
• Will the team seek your input every time they need to re-balance your portfolio? Or do you prefer the advisors make the changes needed as necessary?
You want to enlist the type of support you need so you can feel confident in your financial plan. After all, what is your advisory team good for if they don’t make you feel confident you’re creating the future you envision for yourself and your family?
6) Likeable: Is This Someone You Want to Deal with Ongoing?
Before you roll your eyes, hear us out. You might be meeting with the smartest financial advisors under the sun, but if you don’t like the people on the team, you aren’t going to have a good experience working with them ongoing. You need to prioritize working with a team of advisors you connect with.
Do the people on this team make you feel comfortable enough to share your most intimate financial details? Do you feel judged or welcomed when you chat?
Do they seem genuinely interested in your ongoing success?
While these may seem like subjective markers by which to judge an team’s merits, we have been in the game long enough to know that advisor relationships that lack this element usually lapse. And since we’re in the business of helping you find the advisory team you’ll stick with for life, value our opinion when we say: make sure you like them.
The Last Financial Advisor Search You’ll Ever Need
Whether you’re already working with an advisor or looking for a team to work with for the first time, make sure you do your due diligence to find the best fit for you.
If you are someone who:
Is looking for no-nonsense, ongoing financial planning…
Understands the value of delegating financial tasks to a team who can simplify your life and help you build wealth…
Needs a team they can rely on and trust…
Then you need to learn more about the Personal Financial Planning services we offer at Trivium Point Advisory. While we specialize in working with business owners and entrepreneurs on both their business and personal financial plans, we also work with individuals, couples, and families who are solely looking for that personal planning option. And we are proud to also offer tax planning and preparation to our clients all under one roof.