Working out one’s finances and investments can be done by people who have the knowledge from either study or years of experience. But not all of us have had the required time in the financial sector to be able to take decisions worthy of a proper return on the money you involve. For those of us who are new in the investment sector or have started their career recently, will always require expert help to make sure that they don’t fall into trouble because of less knowledge. This is the reason why we hire financial advisors to do the job of looking into the financial plans of their clients and serve them with better strategies. When starting into the investment sector, most people look for cheaper advises that they can get on online advisory portals. But having a financial advisor that chooses to meet in person to decide your financial goals, gives you many dynamic results than the online portals that only take care of your portfolios and provide a lesser idea of your plans. A financial advisor assesses the financial goals that you have set for yourself and advises you on the course of action that helps you reach them. But there are questions you should be asking your financial advisor before finally hiring him.
1. Are You A Fiduciary?
A fiduciary is a financial advisor that works for the management of their client’s finances and making plans of financial growth of the client in an exclusive manner. Non-fiduciaries are also financial advisors but they won’t be advising you on your next best step with your financial planning but will suggest to you the best products that are suitable. A fiduciary on the other hand is like a trustee to your finances and will represent you at places of business and financial concerns. Management of your assets and investment plans is the job of a fiduciary. Although fiduciaries come with a larger fee amount than non-fiduciaries, they are a better option if you’re new to the market or have less info about the regulations.
2. How do You Get Paid?
Different financial advisors have different fee structures and you would want to know about them. Ask the financial advisor if he is a fee-only advisor and doesn’t get a commission on pitching products to people. Fee-only advisors generally charge 1% of the assets they are managing for you. There might either be a fixed fee for miscellaneous services or an hourly charge for consulting and planning. If you find that affording the financial planner might affect your bank account, then you should probably go for online Robo advisors that incur a low fee and provide calculated data of your investments and asset management. Though you would want an in-person advisor to take you through some of the investment obstacles and bounce back from losses.
3. What are My All-in Costs?
Financial advisors have charges that might not come up during the time they manage your assets. Apart from the fees that they get from the assets they manage, advisors charge you for external services or overhead charges for a certain project that might be important to you. Since you’re trusting someone with your money, you must want to know how much do you pay for the trust.
4. What Are Your Qualifications?
As a financial advisor, the person is bound to have a confusing initial after their name. So you would want to know what is the level of education they have had. To know the meaning behind their initials, you can use the professional designation database from the Monetary Authority of Singapore. You can find the educational qualification required for the designation and ask your advisor if they have the same. The database also provides you with the authority that assigns the designation and the disciplinary rules that your advisor must follow.
5. How Much Access do I Have of Your Services?
You must know how often are the services of your advisor accessible to you. Ask your advisor about the frequency of meetings that you can have with them. Enquire if you can have access to meetings apart from the set appointments and if they will be available for phone calls and emails.
6. What Is Your Investment Philosophy?
It is important to know what are the set of fundamentals that your advisor works on. The necessity of this question lies in building trust with the advisor and knowing if your philosophy of finances matches their’s so you can know which way the pawns must be set for the game. You must believe in what your financial advisor plans for your finances. When the market is down, the financial planner will surely advise you to keep holding the commodity until the market rises again, so that you don’t lose your shares for a meager amount. Ask the planner about the types of clients they have worked with and the set of problems that they have handled in the past, to make sure they can handle the kind of challenges you face.
7. What Asset Allocation Will You Use?
The kind of asset allocation the planner uses for your portfolio makes the difference in the returns you can gain after hiring them. Asset allocation is all about a diversified portfolio that consists of a variety of stock indexes. You wouldn’t want to hire a planner that just takes up the big shares from multinational firms by looking at the recent performance. Such a person will advise you to sell your shares the moment the market drops. Your planner must be clever enough to set up a portfolio with domestic as well as international companies including some mid-cap and large-cap industry shares. The more your portfolio is diversified among different stock options the more you decrease the risk factor on your investments.
Hiring a financial planner at the beginning of your investment journey can be a smart move. You don’t need to keep your planner on your payroll for the rest of your life. The financial safety factor remains when you hire a good financial planner who will tell you about the better options that can help you grow your wealth and experience in the market.