First, let’s start with the basic question of whether you need a financial planner and if the answer to that question is yes…well, read on.
What kind of planner do you need? The person you work with has to work for you and with you. You must both be on the same page. you must be comfortable sharing your goals, dreams and your fears with him/her. You must understand each other and the philosophy has to match; if you’re in it for the long term and he’s looking at short term, it’ll never work out. Take the time to choose an advisor at the beginning of the relationship, meet him a couple of times, share your concerns and see how well he addresses them. Sign up only once you are convinced that he will be good for you and can help you achieve your dreams. Over time, your advisor has to be your trusted friend to whom you can turn to in times of confusion. He should be able to keep a level head in times of uncertainty and help you focus; some of these things you will know by experience, but you can always ask him how he’s dealt with such situations in the past and how he’s helped clients. You can also gauge a lot by his language and non- verbal communication. How does he talk about his clients? Is he eager to throw names or does he respect their confidentiality? These should be good indicators of his intentions and how he functions.
We see a lot of advisors in the media and they express their opinions on various topics. Look for ones who make you feel comfortable and not necessarily throw jargons. But, also look for credibility and expertise. Once you have identified a few advisors, look at their websites, their profiles which can then tell you a lot more. Do your research and then get in touch with them. Ask for meetings and then evaluate them on the parameters that matter to you; some of which have been discussed above. You should also ask if he has a system in place in case he is away; are there other people in his team and how capable are they of managing your money. What are their backgrounds and credentials? Are there research systems in place? Will your information be treated as confidential? Being featured in the media does give credibility to the advisor, but don’t shy away from doing your own research. Spend this time initially and you may not have to look for another advisor ever again!
Ideal Advisor Traits –
• Strives towards your goals
• Time- Gives you and your portfolio his time
• Has a keen eye for asset allocation
• Focuses on risk protection without chasing returns
For me, if your financial planner does this, then he’s a star planner. If not, irrespective of how well he is known, he isn’t. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.