Questions to Ask When Hiring a Financial Advisor

By: Todd Doobrow, CFP

As we head into summer, we are finding many dentists “finally” prioritizing the business generated by their own two hands.

Whether you’re planning for retirement, baffled by student loans, saving for your children’s education, or investing for long-term growth, finding the right financial planner can make a significant difference in your financial well-being.

5 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Financial Advisor

However, not all financial planners are created equal, and it’s essential to ask the right questions to ensure you find the best fit for your needs.

Here are five key questions to ask when hiring a financial planner:

1. What are your qualifications and credentials?

Understanding a financial planner’s qualifications and credentials is vital to ensuring they have the expertise and knowledge necessary to guide you effectively.

Look for planners who hold reputable certifications such as:

  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP)
  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
  • Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)

These designations require rigorous education, experience, and adherence to ethical standards, providing assurance of competence and professionalism.

2. How do you charge for your services, and what are your fees?

The fee structure of a financial planner can vary significantly, impacting the cost of their services and your overall financial plan’s affordability.

Some planners charge a flat fee, while others may work on a commission basis or charge a percentage of assets under management.

It’s essential to understand how your planner is compensated and whether their fee structure aligns with your preferences and financial situation.

Additionally, inquire about any potential conflicts of interest that may arise from their compensation method.  If you are speaking to someone who calls themselves a planner but are really an insurance agent in disguise, guess what they are going to try to sell you?!?

3. What is your approach to financial planning, and how will you tailor your services to my needs?

Every individual’s financial situation is unique, and a one-size-fits-all approach to financial planning may not be suitable.

A good financial planner should take the time to understand your specific goals, risk tolerance, and financial concerns before developing a personalized plan tailored to your needs.

Ask about their planning process, investment philosophy, and how they will adapt their services to accommodate changes in your circumstances over time.

4. How do you stay informed about changes in the financial industry and relevant regulations?

The financial landscape is constantly evolving, with new investment products, tax laws, and regulatory changes emerging regularly.

A competent financial planner should stay informed about these developments to provide you with accurate and up-to-date advice.

Inquire about their continuing education efforts, professional memberships, and how they stay abreast of industry trends.

A commitment to ongoing learning and professional development demonstrates a dedication to serving clients effectively in a dynamic financial environment.

5. Can you provide references or client testimonials?

Seeking feedback from current or past clients can offer valuable insights into a financial planner’s competence, professionalism, and the quality of their services.

Ask for references or testimonials from clients with similar financial goals and circumstances to yours. Inquire about their experiences working with the planner, whether they achieved their financial objectives and any challenges or concerns they encountered along the way.

Hearing directly from clients can help you gauge the planner’s track record and suitability for your needs.

In Conclusion

Hiring a financial planner is a significant decision that can profoundly impact your financial future.

By asking these five essential questions, you can gain a better understanding of a planner’s qualifications, approach, and compatibility with your needs and preferences. You need to be compatible in approach, needs, and personality.

If you are going to share personal thoughts with this planner, who they are is just as important as what they do.

Keep Reading: Importance of Financial Planning for Dentists: 3 Mistakes to Avoid

Photo by Mikhail Nilov

Todd Doobrow, CFP

Todd Doobrow, CFP

Todd Doobrow is an independent Certified Financial Planner® fiduciary and founder of Curato Advisory, who has worked with dental and medical professionals, and their teams, for more than a decade. Not only does he see the life of a dentist first-hand as his wife practices Periodontics and Implant dentistry, but he has entrenched himself in his clients’ practices with a voracious focus on financial efficiency. He can be reached at Todd@CuratoAdvisory.com or 205.778.2020.