- KNOW WHERE YOUR FINANCIAL ADVISOR LIVES: This
may sound odd but State laws vary. Isn't it more comforting knowing the advisor lives in your home town? If the advisor has
their own home doesn't that imply more stability than an apartment number or P.O. box? If something goes wrong, why face the
expense of going out of town to handle disputes?
- SHOW ME YOURS: If a particular investment or insurance product is
that good, doesn't it make sense the advisor would own it? Before investing, ask for verification that the advisor has what
they are asking you to purchase. It may be surprising how many advisors do not practice what they preach. If the advisor
owns products being recommended to you, rest assured everyday that person will check on those investments because they have
a personal stake in them.
- VERIFY CREDENTIALS: States & the SEC have regulatory departments to provide background
information on registered advisors. CFP (Certified Financial Planner) is a widely recognized trademark of qualified advisors.
Check the advisor out before you consider doing any business. As with any profession, experience counts.
- DO YOU LIKE
PURPLE?: Like a lasting marriage, both partners must be compatible. Be sure your goals & philosophies of financial planning
match the advisors. Otherwise there will be constant concern over recommendations made. One size does not fit all when selecting
- TAKE THE STOMACH TEST: If a recommendation doesn't feel right, don't do it! No matter how compelling,
don't accept it. Your stomach is almost always right. Know how the advisor will be paid. You don't work for free & neither
- HOW DO YOU SLEEP?: If worry about your investments robs you of sleep, find a new advisor because you have
the wrong investments. When you put your head on that pillow each night, you should know where your money is, why it's there
& how it's doing. It seems some advisors want their clients to know as little about the portfolio as possible. In fact,
you should know as much about what you have as they do.
- LEARN WHAT TO DO: Don't allow an advisor to tell you what
to do; they should teach you what to do. Why? Well, that advisor may not be around tomorrow & then what will you do?
I've had many new clients tell me when I ask why they have what they do in their portfolio "I don't know, that's what
he/she said I should do". Go back to #6 if this would be your answer.
- IS ANYBODY HOME?: Next to your health,
financial well-being is most important. Be sure you can contact your advisor whenever you need to. Some will sell you products
& after a short time, never contact you again. So much for monitoring your investments! With E-mail, toll-free & cell
phones, fax lines there is no reason an advisor should ever be unavailable except for major illness.
- MY NEPHEW SELLS
INSURANCE TOO: With few exceptions, it is poor judgement to buy cars, boats, insurance or investments from relatives. Thanksgiving
dinner will never be the same if you find the insurance you were sold or investment you made with cousin Johnny went sour.
Most new agents/brokers last less than 2 years & your account will be turned over to a complete stranger.
UP!: Do not consider any investment or insurance solicited over the phone! Watch out for invites to seminars. The bigger the
free lunch, the more it will ultimately cost you!