10 Questions to Ask a Financial Planner

If you’ve ever considered using a financial planner , you should be prepared to ask a few questions.  Don’t be shy here!  You need to feel comfortable working with your financial planner, and knowing where they stand on certain issues can give you the peace of mind that you need when working a plan for your finances. 1. What are your qualifications and background in financial planning? Is your financial planner certified as a Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), or Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)?  Look for a person who has experience in areas such as tax planning, investments, insurance, retirement planning, and estate planning.   You should also find out how long the planner has been practicing and their experience working under major companies. 2. What services do you provide? Some financial planners offer advice without selling products while other may be licensed to sell insurance or other investments.  Depending on your needs, you may want to work with a planner who is specialized in a certain area like tax or estate planning. 3. Tell me about your investment philosophy/strategy. Your goal here is to get them talking and to listen for signs that highlight strengths or weaknesses.  If your prospect is overconfident and brags about timing the market, you might consider someone else.  Someone who is cautious to create a strategy to keep costs low and  is honest about investment risks is a much better fit for most people. 4. How are you paid? This question is not rude to ask by any means.  In fact, if a planner gives you grief about the answer, you should consider someone else.  Find out if you pay them through commission, fee only, or fee-based (a combination of commission and fees). 5. How much do you typically charge? Your individual needs will dictate the total costs of your financial planner’s services, but they should provide you with a reasonable estimate of possible costs for services often rendered.  Discuss hourly rates, flat fees, or percentages that will be paid for various services. 6. What products do/don’t you put clients into? You’re looking for your financial planner to acknowledge that not all financial products are right for everyone.  A good financial planner should abide by this simple principle automatically, but it’s a good question to ask and hear them explain their thoughts. 7. What is your average portfolio size and life stage? If you are looking to invest millions with someone who has never managed more than a few hundred thousand, you might want to know that before signing the dotted line.  Life stage is also important, and their experience with young and old clients can show their range of experience. 8. What resources do you have to address issues outside your area of expertise? You can’t expect someone to know absolutely everything there is to know about all tax, real estate, and legal issues right off the top of their head.  Look for an answer that shows the human side of the planner and acknowledges their willingness to seek out expert advice if needed. 9. How do you communicate with clients?  How often? Does the planner provide monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual calls and consultations?  Are phone, email or physical meetings preferred?  Ask these questions up front and be sure to readdress the issue of charging when it comes to sending over questions every once in a while. 10. Will I work with anyone else in your office? Depending on the size of their practice, you may have to work with an assistant now and then.  Ask them so that your expectations are set properly. Print out a list of these questions. Or, you can email it to your CFP prospects or bring it as a guide during your initial consultation. What are some additional questions that we should be asking financial planners? Meet us in the comments! Related Articles: Introducing the ChristianPF Financial Planner Directory Millionaire today, broke tomorrow? How to Avoid A Bad Financial Advisor: 5 Red Flags To Watch For 5 Questions to Ask When Deciding To Refinance Your Home Loan Where do you get your investing advice? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Borrowing Another Dollar Premarital Financial Counseling: Questions To Ask Tim is a personal finance writer at Faith and Finance a Christian financial help blog that provides financial insights for individuals, businesses, and churches. Outside of finance, Tim enjoys spending time with his wife, playing the saxophone, reading economics books, and a good game of RISK or Catan. Find him on Twitter and Facebook . As a thank you for subscribing to our newsletter you can download our quick eBook ” 25 Ways To Save Money in 2011 ” for FREE! The articles on this site are for entertainment purposes and should not be taken as financial advice. Please contact a financial professional for specific advice regarding your situation. Also, many of the CPF articles help us pay the bills by using affiliate relationships with Amazon, Google, eBay and others. Find out more here .

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10 Questions to Ask a Financial Planner

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