What to expect from a financial advisor

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What to expect from a financial advisor

For many people, the decision to begin working with a financial advisor for the first time is a big step and, unlike a health care professional or even a lawyer, they may not have worked with this type of professional before.

So, what can (and can’t) you expect?

A good advisor will begin by getting to know you: how much you have in assets and liabilities, certainly, but also your risk tolerance, financial needs, and life goals (short-, medium- and long-term). Your advisor will gain an understanding of your family situation and what type of a life you want to build for yourself and those nearest to you.

Your financial advisor isn’t going to then tell you how you must structure your finances, or how you must invest your money. And, unlike when you visit a bank, your financial advisor isn’t going to present a limited set of options and say, “This is all there is — pick A, B or C.”

Instead, your advisor will provide recommendations, and they may be grouped together as a series of options. These are intended to make the investment decision process easier for you, not to be limiting or restrictive in any way.

At every point, you should feel comfortable saying, for example, “I think that portfolio structure is close, but it’s still a little conservative for me.” Or perhaps, “I like most of the equities you’ve chosen but I feel strongly about ethical investing, so I’d like it if we could make a few changes.”

It’s important to remember that the advice process should not be prescriptive; rather, it’s one of give and take — and that requires ongoing discussion and adjustments.

Another thing your advisor should be providing is digital tools to assist in the conversation and in the portfolio management process. For example, as your financial advisor I will provide you with:

  • online content to keep you up-to-speed on industry news and trends, products and other financial-based information
  • a portfolio platform so you can log in and see how your investments are performing if and when you wish to do so, and to update important personal information
  • access to your accounts through the Internet or by telephone.

The third thing to expect is across-the-board support for your financial ecosystem. That means your advisor is well-connected with a network of other professionals who can advise in areas such as tax, insurance and estate planning. This will ensure that the financial planning process takes into account the full picture of your financial health.

As your financial advisor, I will continue to strive to bring these important elements you your benefit but to also go the extra mile. Want to connect? Coffee is on me.