There has never been a better time to find a financial advisor who is a fiduciary.
The investing world is full of uncertainty right now. Markets are roiled by unknowns, and even the surest and savviest of investors find themselves nervous about their businesses, their money, and their families’ futures.
How, then, should you proceed? What steps should you take to protect your assets now and grow them in the future? Enlisting the help of an independent financial advisor who can provide you with personalized financial advice and planning has never been more essential.
Is your advisor a fiduciary?
Whether you’re looking for an advisor or already working with one, you can start by asking two simple questions. Is my financial advisor a fiduciary? Are they always a fiduciary?
Independent Registered Investment Advisors (RIAs) are fiduciaries, legally bound to always act in the best interest of their clients. It’s an important distinction to understand when it comes to choosing who you want to manage your money.
Independent financial advisors go beyond advising you on point-in-time investment transactions and make sure that you understand your entire financial picture. You may be a self-made entrepreneur, a high-level executive, or the beneficiary of family wealth. Whatever your circumstances, your goals and dreams for how you use your money are deeply personal. The advisor you choose should be focused on building a plan highly customized to you, but that’s just the start.
What kind of relationship do you want with your advisor?
Once you have a plan, does your advisor proactively work with you to make sure that you’re staying on track? An independent Registered Investment Advisor can provide that level of care – they focus on building long-term advisory relationships with you and your family, serving as stewards of your money at all times, not just when you reach out to them. This is especially valuable in times like these. An independent advisor can work with you to help you make smart decisions based on data and not fear, helping you keep your plan on track.
Money can be emotional. Even during good times, you may still have complex financial situations come up that are emotionally delicate. A common scenario is the question of how you will pass on your assets and your values to the next generation. Your children or grandchildren may have mixed feelings about the legacy you leave behind and differing levels of ability and interest in managing their inheritance. An independent advisor could help you navigate not only the financial ins-and-outs of estate planning, but also the family dynamics around inherited wealth.
Or you may be a business owner contemplating the next phase of your life. You may have questions that are more strictly financial, such as “What is the value of my business?” But you may also have some questions that require deeper self-reflection, such as “Can I afford to retire? Am I really ready to retire?” An independent advisor can take a look at your life goals and your entire financial picture to help you make decisions that are right for you.
In fact, the way that independent advisors are compensated helps to support that long-term focus on your financial well-being. Independent advisors typically charge a fee based on a percentage of assets managed or services provided. This gives them the freedom to focus on doing what’s right for you, not on selling you products or meeting sales quotas. When you do well, your advisor does well.
Questions to ask yourself
Working with an independent financial advisor can be invaluable. An independent advisor can help you rethink the status quo or keep you from overreacting in times of stress. There is no substitute for their ability to listen to your concerns and formulate a plan that can keep you on track and, frankly, provide peace of mind, even under circumstances that are less than ideal.
Maybe now is the time to talk to an independent advisor, let them look at your assets and goals, and challenge some of your tendencies and assumptions to come up with a plan that best fits you.
So as you try and navigate the coming months and years financially, ask yourself the following:
- Can your advisor provide the customized guidance and full scope of services that you need?
- Is your advisor always a fiduciary? In other words, not just for a transaction, but for the life of the relationship?
- Do you have an advisor who’s responsive, attentive, and committed to helping you reach your long-term goals?
If any of your answers were “no,” perhaps it’s time to find your independent financial advisor.