Photo by kupicoo/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by kupicoo/iStock / Getty Images

Have you decided to hire a financial advisor to assist you down your path to retirement? Here’s a few questions you might want to ask when you do your initial “interview.”

1.       What is the market going to do in the next 6 months?

I put this one first so you can save yourself some time depending on how they answer. If they give you any indication that they “have the market figured out” or “have great success timing the market,” RUN.

Even the most brilliant minds on Wall Street can’t accurately predict what the market is going to do in the near term. An advisor should be able to help you develop a plan to achieve your goals that doesn’t depend on “guessing correctly” when it comes to those short term market movements.

2.       What types of services do you provide?

Make sure you understand how they will help you. Some advisors might just focus on investment advice. Some other advisors might focus more on the big picture, including retirement, insurance, estate planning and tax planning.

Make sure the advisor can provide you what you are looking for.

3.       How much do you charge for your services?

This can vary depending on what firm or advisor you are interviewing. Some advisor fees changed depending on the investment, while others might charge you a fee based on the amount of assets they are managing for you.

Other advisors might charge you a flat fee for doing a complex financial plan. Make sure you understand how the advisor gets paid.

4.       What characteristics do your ideal clients share?

This answer can tell you a lot about an advisor’s business. An advisor might have a niche they specialize in, so make sure they are knowledgeable about your individual situation.

For instance, if you are looking to develop a detailed estate plan to set up trusts for your kids and grand kids, you might not want an advisor that specialized in company retirement plans. Make sure you feel like you are a good fit.

5.       How much contact should I expect from you?

The advisor should have a plan for following up with you going forward. There might some additional contact early on to get the ball rolling, but once everything is set and you are following the plan, you should know what to expect.

This is also a great time to let the advisor know what you expect in respect to how much you would like to hear from him or her. You might like a monthly call or yearly face to face meeting. Others might be fine with a quarterly call and meeting face to face as needed.

There are a lot more to ask depending on your situation, but these will get you started. Make sure you take good notes, and it’s also a good idea to review these periodically with your advisor to make sure they are sticking to what they told you early on.

Pay attention to questions your advisor asks as well. Those can give you another good indication of what he expects from you as a client.

If you have an advisor but not sure about how they would answer any of the questions above, fill out the form below. We would be happy to answer them for you.