Tips for Working with a Financial Professional

By on May 16, 2018

Just because you lack the time and expertise to put together a long-term investment plan doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have one. The average person doesn’t sew their own wardrobe, rebuild and replace their own car engine parts, or perform surgery on themselves. We rely on professionals to perform specialized tasks requiring detailed knowledge and skills beyond our scope or free time. Thus, it makes sense to consider getting professional help with your finances too.

Professional help is not a surrendering of complete control – after all, it’s our livelihood and financial well being that’s at stake. Leverage the experience and expertise of a financial professional to help ensure that you are taking all possible factors into account, make clear and realistic comparisons of the many options available to you, and keeping your emotions in check when it comes to your portfolio. A financial professional or trusted adviser is someone who can help you think things through so you are making more informed decisions.

Whether you are an experienced investor or just starting out, provided below are some tips to help you get the most out of your relationship with a financial professional:

Which Type of Financial Professionals is Right for You?

Some financial professionals provide only planning services, while others will not only help you craft a plan but also assist you with implementing your investment strategies. Some financial professionals will help you select other professional money managers to invest your savings, while others make the investment decisions on your behalf. When choosing a financial professional to assist you with your finances, take stock of your needs and time constraints.

The educational, licensing and certification requirements that an individual must meet to be a financial professional vary across the industry. Learn more about the certifications and licenses a professional holds to determine if their experiences and expertise is in alignment with your financial need. Fees charged by financial professionals can vary too; some offer nominal or no fee for simple education, while others charge a flat fee, hourly fee, commission per trade or a percentage of the assets you have invested with them.

What to Look for When Choosing a Financial Professional

Be prepared to go through several interviews before you find the financial professional who fits your needs and goals. It may take time, but the effort can be worth it. Be prepared to discuss your financial situation and both short and long-term objectives with each candidate—and don’t be afraid to ask plenty of questions about their experience and training, services, product offerings, compensation, how they work with clients, and what happens when they are not in the office.

Investing in The Relationship

To develop a strong, customized financial budget or investment plan, a financial professional will want to know as much about you as you want to know about him or her. They may want to know what you want to achieve with your money, your investment knowledge and how much risk you are willing to endure. Take time to consider your needs, expectations and goals in advance so that you will have a more rewarding, productive meeting. And invest in your own education and boost your financial competency so that you can feel confident with your decisions every step of the way.

Tips to Prepare For Your First Meeting

To help you create a formal financial plan, a financial professional will need to assess your personal situation, including risk tolerance, current portfolio allocation, and goals for the short and long-term. At your first meeting, you may want to bring documents such as budgets, tax statements, wills, insurance policies and pension, investment, and banking statements. There is no single right way to establish long-term financial goals and objectives but providing your financial professional with as much detailed information as you can will help get you moving in the right direction.

How to Keep the Conversation Going

Buying or selling a home, starting a business, getting married, starting a family, retiring—all of these are major milestones in life and each will have a unique impact on our finances. Because a financial plan is a long-term objective, it makes sense to meet with a financial professional at least once a year to make adjustments for any changes in your personal life as well as address changes in the market conditions. Throughout the year, use your monthly statements and the Internet to help you keep track of how your investments are doing and speak to your financial professional if you have questions about your investment performance.

Building a relationship of trust takes time. The sooner you start working with a financial professional, the sooner you will be able to take charge of your finances, simplify your financial life, and devote your energy to other important matters. The investment process is not perfect and that no financial professional can guarantee success, but, if you work with a qualified financial professional and incorporate their feedback with your own education, you may have a good chance of meeting your financial objectives with peace of mind.

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About Terri A. Kamoto

Senior writer for FSN - Terri is a former financial analyst dedicated to making personal finances, budgeting, investment and insurance advice accessible, up to date and easy to understand. It is hard to find professional advice written in a language someone without a financial background can understand. Terri helps companies synthesize industry lingo and expertise into clear and informative content which builds smarter, financially successful individuals. You can find Terri on !

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