As a certified financial planner, I help my clients to understand their financial situation and achieve their financial goals. During my 24 years of experience in the financial industry, I can appreciate the anxiety clients go through when it comes to finding a financial advisor or planner who is the right fit to help them plan and manage their finances. They need to find someone they have the right chemistry with, someone they know they can share their financial “truths “with, so they can get the right advice at the right time. To share insights on this topic both from a financial planner and a client perspective, I discussed ‘How to Work with a Financial Expert’ with one of my clients Sean Penhall, owner of Want Management Model Agency.
What is the biggest setback to working with a financial advisor or planner?
Unfortunately, many people still feel uncomfortable talking about their financial situation with a professional advisor for several reasons: It could range from a lack of knowledge around their finances, or simply not having confidence around the financial decisions they have made in the past. Other reasons may include not feeling good about the financial decisions they have made in the past. This could lead them to avoid dealing with their finances altogether. However, this fear might be holding them back from getting the help they need to improve their financial health.
How can you get started to plan for finances?
The first step is to think about what you want from the process. Is it retirement advice? Paying less on your taxes? Leaving money behind for your loved ones? Think carefully about what your needs are based on what stage of life you find yourself in. Then you can start working on breaking the stigma around financial vulnerability and accepting that you would benefit from talking to a financial expert. Referrals are an effective way to get insights from people who have worked with the advisor on the level of service they offer. You can also look for an advisor by searching online.
How do you choose the right expert?
Finding the right financial advisor or planner for you is key to your financial plan’s success. Some factors to consider are
1) Getting a sense of what licenses the advisor holds, what they mean and what products they can offer. For example, do they hold an insurance license, a mutual fund or a securities license? Advisors can only recommend products based on the licenses they hold.
2) Ask a potential advisor if they have acquired any financial designations and how they add value to the planning process. For example, a CFP designation is a financial planning designation that allows CFP advisors to help clients set up a financial plan and discuss all aspects of the client’s financial circumstances. A CLU is someone who has specialized knowledge in all aspects of insurance. An RHU is a person who specializes in health benefit programs for employees etc.
3) Also ask a potential advisor what type of clients they work with and copies of testimonials of happy clients. If you are working with an investment advisor, ask for a sample portfolio they would recommend, and target returns they set for specific client types of clients they work with.
Why do I call myself a ‘Financial Confidante’?
A confidante is someone you can trust and share all your thoughts, values, and decisions without feeling shame or judgement. I call myself a financial confidante because I do my best to provide a safe space for my clients to share their financial situations and decisions without feeling judged. As a previous therapist, I combine my skills in psychology with my expertise in finance to create the best experience for my clients. One way I do this is by assessing your financial situation by diving into your opportunities, emphasizing the positive before looking at threats. Secondly, I open myself to all questions a potential client might have to make sure potential clients find the right fit.
What questions should you ask a financial expert?
- Credentials: Understanding the credentials of your financial advisor or planner is crucial to assess what they can provide. As potential clients, you should be comfortable asking any financial expert about their certifications and what they mean. As a financial confidante, I openly share and explain my credentials with my clients.
- Background and services: Your financial advisor or planner’s licenses might affect the products they can offer you.
- Compensation & fees: Understand how your financial planner is compensated as this will impact your net returns from investments.
Why work with me?
My client Sean opened about his experience on why he chose to work with me and what helped him in his decision. One important aspect for him was his awareness of his financial goals. Setting your financial goals, no matter how detailed or vague, can guide your financial expert on their recommendations.
Since Sean trusted me and was open about his financial goals, we were able to create a tailored financial plan for him. Thanks to my insurance license, I also ensured that they have insurance which fortunately benefited him at a time of crisis. In times like those, my clients feel reassured with their trust in me which contributes to my ‘financial confidante’ title.
Did you know that I offer a 30-minute complimentary consultation to people who want to learn more about getting started? If you want to get started in your journey without making a monetary commitment, fill our Financial IQ Assessment and our team will reach out to book a time with you!
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