Do you ever feel overwhelmed when trying to choose a doctor, a contractor, or another company to do business with? With so many choices, how do you know which one will be the right fit for your situation or personality? How do you know if you’ll like them or work well with them?
When it comes to choosing a financial advisor, the stakes are even higher. The financial professional you choose to handle your family’s wealth will have a significant impact on your investment strategy, the fees you pay, and your confidence in your financial future. This is not a decision to take lightly, especially since each advisor has a different level of service, experience, and ability. Taking all of that into consideration, it is vital that you take your time to find an advisor that meets your needs and makes you feel at ease. So, when you start your advisor search, ask potential candidates the following 10 questions.
1. How Much Experience Do You Have?
Experience is essential when you’re working with a professional of any kind, especially someone handling your finances. Don’t be shy about asking an advisor about their industry experience. It will give you peace of mind to know what market conditions they’ve experienced and how many years they’ve been working in the industry. At D. Bryant Retirement Strategies, Darrell brings 35 years of professional experience in the financial industry. His team is highly skilled and trained to assist you in your planning & transitioning to, and through, retirement.
2. Do You Hold Any Credentials?
We take credentials seriously, and we think you should too. Credentials and education play a critical role in your advisor’s competence. There are hundreds of designations in the financial services field, and some are more applicable to your needs than others. (1) Our advisory team has achieved designations including the Certified Fund Specialist (CFS®) designation, Certified Annuity Specialist (CAS®) designation, and more. Use DesignationCheck.com to learn more about the credentials financial advisors can earn, and ask the advisors you are researching what they do to continually hone their skills and stay up to date in the industry.
3. What Financial Planning Services Do You Offer?
Not all financial advisors can provide comprehensive financial planning. Some cannot sell insurance or securities, such as mutual funds or stocks, if they don’t have the appropriate licenses. Ask a financial advisor what services they provide, whether or not they have a focus, and if they offer a broad spectrum of solutions to meet your needs. When creating a plan together, be sure to ask your advisor why they are recommending particular services and solutions over others. We are a full-service firm of Omaha financial advisors who focus on retirement. We help clients retire with added confidence using the following services:
- Retirement Income Generation
- Social Security Planning
- Pension Settlement Planning
- 401(k)/Employer Plan Rollovers
- Helping Protect Retirement Savings
- Stocks and Bonds
- Index Funds and ETFs
- Mutual Funds and Annuities
4. What Is Your Planning Philosophy?
It’s important to work with an advisor who shares a planning and investing philosophy similar to your own. If you’re nearing retirement, you may not want to work with an aggressive stockbroker, whereas if you’re new to investing, you may not want to be too conservative. Talk with an advisor about how he or she guides clients’ investing and financial decisions. At D. Bryant Retirement Strategies, our team will customize a portfolio that is designed for your unique needs.
5. Who Do You Serve?
Some financial advisors focus on serving a specific demographic or level of investable assets, so you’ll want to find this out before choosing an advisor. For example, if you’re a business owner, you may be better suited to work with an advisor focusing on helping business owners. At D. Bryant Retirement Strategies, we believe that “retiree” planning is an area of focus and requires specific attention to complex, interrelated issues. As the only firm in the area that focuses on helping clients at the point of retirement and beyond, we have developed specific strategies to help protect our clients’ hard-earned life savings.
6. Who Else On Your Team Will Be Working With Me?
At some firms, you may work with multiple financial advisors depending on your appointment time or needs, while other firms may pair you up with one financial advisor with whom you’ll work one-on-one. This is important to know so you can meet the other team members with whom you might be collaborating. At D. Bryant Retirement Strategies, Darrell Bryant works with you personally to offer you the highest level of service. We place great value in getting to know our clients and their needs and goals, and help develop a plan designed to make them realize they really can retire, they won’t run out of money, and they can go sign their retirement papers.
7. How Much Do You Charge?
Financial planning and investment costs can be confusing. And too often, financial advisors don’t readily disclose their fees. When you are searching for a financial professional, look for transparency in exactly how they are compensated and make sure their recommendations are not influenced by any affiliations. While transparency may not weed out every advisor who doesn’t serve your best interests, it does inform and empower you with information and put everyone on an even playing field.
As a fee-based firm, our clients always know what they’re paying and what they’re receiving in return. We want our clients to feel comfortable with their strategies and confident that there are no hidden fees eating away at their hard-earned savings.
8. Do You Receive a Commission?
Some financial advisors working with big banks earn their income on commissions. The problem with this is that advisors working on commission may be inclined to sell products that aren’t best suited for a client’s needs. As a fee-based independent financial firm, we charge a percentage of your assets under our management. The better your investments perform, the more we earn. Avoiding conflicts of interest, we instead focus on what we believe will best meet your goals and needs.
9. Are You A Fiduciary?
An advisor who serves as a fiduciary accepts a responsibility to put their clients’ interests first and foremost in all decisions. A fiduciary is supposed to avoid conflicts of interest and remain unbiased when giving recommendations and advice. As a fiduciary with over 30 years of experience in the financial services industry, we agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct, and as fiduciaries, we believe in transparency and putting every client first.
10. Have You Ever Violated Any Standards Or Laws?
It’s a good idea to research an advisor’s credentials and run a background check with regulatory agencies. Some advisors may have been subjected to disciplinary action if they violated any laws or if a client took action against them. You can look up an advisor’s professional history by visiting FINRA’s BrokerCheck or the SEC Advisor Disclosure website. These databases will also show you the years of experience an advisor has and the licenses and credentials he or she has.
Take Your Time And Trust Your Intuition
When selecting your advisor, the relationship should feel right and you should never feel pressured to make a decision quickly. An advisor should be happy to answer these questions and any others you may have about how they operate. If you don’t know where to start, ask friends and family for referrals to set you down the right path.
At D. Bryant Retirement Strategies, we believe in complete transparency and want our clients to feel comfortable working with us and asking us questions. If you’d like to learn more about our answers to these questions or any others you may have, don’t hesitate to reach out to us for a complimentary meeting. To get started, call us at (402) 932-2141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Darrell Bryant, CFS®, CAS® is Omaha’s Retirement Strategist. As the founder of D. Bryant Retirement Strategies, he focuses on helping individuals and couples nearing retirement do so successfully. Along with more than 30 years of experience, he received the Certified Fund Specialist (CFS®) designation and a Certified Annuity Specialist (CAS®) designation from the Institute of Business & Finance. Passionate about helping as many people as possible in his community, he hosts Retirement Strategies Radio, heard Saturday mornings at 8 a.m. on 1110 KFAB. He has also written articles on financial planning that have been featured on Fortune.com, FoxBusiness.com, Money.com, and in the Midland Business Journal. To learn more, visit his blog, his website, or connect with him on LinkedIn.