Ask these questions to ensure you find the right fit.
So you've made the decision to see a financial adviser—great! Together, you can work toward growing your savings and meeting financial goals like retiring comfortably.
But before you entrust your financial future to a total stranger, do your due diligence: Check the adviser's back- ground and have a meeting to determine whether his or her experience and qualifications are a fit for you. Meet with at least three people before you make your choice, and trust your gut. If you're not totally comfortable, find someone else.
This is one of the most important monetary decisions you will make, so go in prepared to have a frank discussion; don't settle for less. Here are some key questions to ask to help you create the future you want.
KEY QUESTIONS TO ASK:
1. How long have you been a planner and what are your qualifications and professional designations?
Find out what the adviser's credentials are. Check with provincial regulators to see if there have been any complaints lodged or disciplinary action taken.
2. How will you select investment products for me?
Will the adviser choose from a broad range of investments from different companies or o er only particular products, like mutual funds from certain companies? Does the adviser make more money by recommending one product over another? Will the adviser earn money every time he or she buys or sells a product?
3. With what services will you provide me?
Some advisers have a limited scope and sell only insurance and mutual funds, while others provide tax, financial- and estate-planning services.
4. How many clients do you have with a similar financial situation to mine?
5. How are you paid?
Be clear on whether the adviser charges a fee for services or is commission-based.
6. How often will we meet and will you be available by phone and email if I have questions?
7. Do you have references I can call?
If the adviser says no, take that as a sign to politely leave and find someone else to work with.
Scott Hannah is president and CEO of The Credit Counselling Society. For more info, visit mymoneycoach.ca.