Five Signs You’re Getting a Raw Deal from Your Financial Advisor

When you reach out for advice, you hope you’re receiving advice from an expert, especially when it comes to your financial future. But sometimes it’s a challenge to decipher whether your financial advisor is objective, knowledgeable and working towards your end goals or simply using lots of “jargon” to make it seem as such. Here are five signs that you’re not getting the quality service and expertise you deserve:

Their mind is on their money not yours.

When they evade your questions about how they’re getting paid or push proprietary investments, chances are they are earning big commissions off of you on both the front AND back end of your investments. A solid advisor will be upfront about their fees and commission earnings. On top of that, they will demonstrate how their investment recommendations and activity will help you reach your financial goals. If you notice a lot of transaction activity within your accounts, make sure to ask your advisor why. There could be a valid reason or your advisor could be looking to generate more commission fees.

They’re on auto-pilot.

Your goals and priorities may change subtly or dramatically as time goes on but the point is they do change. As a result, your financial plan benefits from a systematic health check to make sure your investments are appropriate and fit your risk level. While a financial planner shouldn’t need reminding, if you haven’t had a recent discussion about your investment plan, check in with them. Inquire about the last time they’ve revisited your portfolio and what adjustments were performed or recommended as a result. It’s important that you communicate significant goal and financial changes to your advisor, but your advisor should also be proactively planning for your ongoing financial needs.

Your information isn’t easily accessible.

Transparency is a hot word in any service industry; financial services isn’t any different. No matter where you are or what time of day it is, your financial plan should be easy to access. It’s your information after all and your financial team should provide you with the tools to help keep you accountable and up to date. In today’s world, technology isn’t a bonus, it’s a given.

It’s unclear how your investments are performing.

Knowledge is power, but do you know how your invested assets performed last year? As part of the ongoing health checks for your portfolio, your financial advisor should provide you with proper performance reporting so that you can determine together whether your financial plan needs tweaking in order to meet your goals.

They just don’t get you.

Your assets don’t define who you are. In fact, they don’t even define your whole financial situation. Before giving advice, your financial advisor should inquire about your bigger financial picture and discuss other areas of concerns with you like employment prospects, goals, spouse/family considerations, tax bracket, etc. Having these conversations help build a context around your financial goals. Plus, your financial future hinges on more than just your assets. You should expect your financial advisor to explore other financial opportunities such as tax planning, estate planning, risk and insurance analysis, and retirement planning, to ensure you’re prepared for life’s milestones.

Is it time for a change?

Anyone who has ever been responsible for hiring someone knows the challenge of finding the right person for the job. Financial advice is ultimately about you and your goals but if your advisor is throwing up red flags that you might not be on the top of their priority list, they could be risking your financial goals and losing out on your loyalty. It’s worth your time to make sure you’ve partnered with an advisor who understands the complexities of investments as well as the financial road that lays ahead of you. For a second, third, or even fourth opinion, one of our financial advisors would be happy to sit down with you.

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