What Questions To Ask Financial Advisor – Pre-Screening Tips

Questions For Financial Planner

Meeting a financial consultant to plan future of your wife, children, education and yourself and confused what queries to ask? Here’s the perfect guide for all.

Before dwelling into the questions to ask your financial advisor, let us understand who is a financial planner/advisor? He’s an industry professional who has expertise in strategizing the financial process for his/her client in order to meet their short term, long term and immediate goals and educating them on taking
correct decisions for protecting the financial future.

Before you set up one on one meeting with a financial consultant, gather following information:

1) If he’s an independant advisor, gather as much information possible from Facebook and LinkedIn. These two networking channels are perfect to know about any individual. Information especially from LinkedIn can be very crucial for knowing about the past experience. Visit company’s Facebook page (if it exists).
Nowadays, most of the companies have it’s Facebook page wherein connected member share views, comments etc. regarding their service.

2) If he’s a company employee; gather information from their website such as company’s management, history, achievements, clients, contact address, number of employees, testimonials etc. This will give you a fair idea about the organization as they’re the ones who would gather minute details about your financials. You can also cross check company’s presence on LinkedIn and hoovers.

After collecting above information, finally it’s a time to set up a meeting with the advisor. Meeting should always be arranged face to face rather than on phone/chats, E-mails etc. Also, it is advisable to accompany someone senior or with having basic knowledge of financial jargon. Because planners normally talk in language which may seem geek to others. You should be ready with your questionnaire in advance so that you don’t miss out on any queries.

Listed below are the questions you should ask:

1) Whether he/company is a registered member of regulatory body. In case, your financial planner is working independantly, check whether he/she is (CFP – Certified Financial Planner). Always trust on these factors because the logic is simple – why to share personal details with someone unknown. Although, whomsoever you share your information with, is an unknown but there is a always a trust factor when it comes to dealing with a company. Always check credentials in case of a company person; by calling to a company, verifying his photo-ID, etc.

2) Fees structure: Although fees would vary depending on company, individual but you should always have a basic idea about the industry standard. In fact, if someone charges too less would mean, he’s more focused on gathering client.

3) Clientele: This is one of the most important thing which would build your trust. You should ask client’s contact details and definitely reach them and gather details about the advisor. Also, you need to ask, number of clients handled at a time. More the number, poorer will be the quality of the service delivered.

4) Previous successes/failures: A trustworthy individual would never hesitate in sharing these details.

5) Knowledge testing: Apart from answering your specific queries in a confident manner, your planner should be able to answer very basic questions in a polite manner. In case, he’s not sure about few questions, he should politely reply – I would get back to you on this.

Ideally questions for a financial planner must be around:

1) Retirement corpus
2) Buying new house, car
2) Loan repayment on house, cars, etc..
3) Education & marriage of children
4) Saving options
5) Best time to invest and how much

Questions Over – What Next?

Always remember, a perfect planner should first ask their client – what is your financial goal and make them understand the importance of financial planning. Then he should focus on strategizing the plan. Ideal advisor is the one who would successfully layout the plan for the following and at the same time consider the biggest factor i.e. the inflation:

Ideally a planner should take 8-10 hours to prepare a plan for you. Depending on your goal, planner would advise you on different investment options. Never fall in trap of someone, who promises instant guarantees and 100% success. Make sure, you’re not suggested/forced to invest in something very specific. If someone does this, then surely he’s working on a commission basis. In such cases, find out are there any other options he’s not revealing in order to meet the target.

See, if the suggested plan can be given out in writing along with the payment details. Also, before finally saying that big YES, read recent news on the investment options suggested, check previous trends, recommendations by company experts etc.

How to pay the money?

Money must be paid to the planner via cheque only and that too in the name of the company and not on the name of your advisor.

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