Finding a qualified, trustworthy financial advisor can be very tough. Not all of them are created equal. What requirements and/or rules they follow are not the same. There are some financial advisor red flags you need to be aware of when shopping. We’ll explore those in today’s post.
How was the first meeting?
What kind of vibes did you get from the person you met with? Did you have a good gut feeling or a bad gut feeling? Was there good rapport? Did the conversation flow naturally? Did they answer your questions?
These are all great questions to reflect on after you met with your first prospect. You have to trust your gut. If the conversation was good and flowed naturally, but you just didn’t get a good vibe from them, shop elsewhere.
If you think they were walking a line of honesty, whether they held back on telling you things or they made contradicting statements, I would either address it directly or walk away. This is your financial future we’re talking about. You have to make the right decision.
How are they governed?
Do they operate using the fiduciary standard or are they only required to do what’s suitable? As a fiduciary, the advisor is legally obligated to do what’s in your best interest.
For example, when making investment recommendations, an advisor that operates using suitability is only required to make recommendations based on what’s optimal for your investment objective, time horizon, and risk tolerance.
With the fiduciary standard, they use that same suitability but take it a step further. If there are two options for investment – one charges 1% and one charges .50%, the advisor will use the lower of the two because that’s in the client’s best interest.
What are they offering?
If you meet with a potential advisor and they say that they’ll beat the market, run the other way. If an advisor recommends annuities or variable products, I’d either stress that you’re not interested or move along. These are insurance products and there could be a conflict of interest.
How are communications?
Are they honest with their pay schedule? When you asked them about what they charge, were they clear with their answer? This is important. A wishy-washy answer is enough grounds for you to walk away.
Do they talk a lot or do they take time to listen to you? Advisors that talk more than they listen are often pitching a narrative that they believe instead of listening and creating a plan customized to your needs/wants.
How are they with following up? Does it take them forever to get back to you? An advisor that doesn’t make you feel important is a red flag.
Are they a “yes person”? Do they always agree with you? A key characteristic of good advisors is the ability to correct you or express their opinion about your financial plan. If there’s something that you would like to do, but they don’t think that it’s a wise move based on the plan you created, they need to tell you that.
Are there financial advisor red flags? Absolutely. We illustrated them here. Keep them in mind when you’re shopping and trust your gut. There are fantastic advisors out there, you just have to do a little work to find one.
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