How do you shop for the right financial advisor?

Updated: May 23, 2020

#personalfinance #investments #financialadvice #financialadvisor #wealthmanagement #financialplan #helpneeded

Given the current economic state caused by the pandemic, many Americans need good quality financial advice more than ever. You may have questions about tax planning, financial planning, debt management, or retirement planning. You may be an employee, a small business owner, self-employed, unemployed, retired, or taking care of someone who was infected with COVID-19. No matter the reasoning, you will have some questions to ask a financial advisor.

What matters right now? Diligence. If an advisor has hundreds of clients already, where is the capacity to serve you with due diligence and deliver what you expect? After all, both parties want to build a long-term relationship, because it is a hassle to shop for an advisor and go through the trust building process all over again. In some cases, clients might even have to move an account to a different institution in order to use an advisor. Therefore, I am writing this article to share with you some tips that can help you search for the right advisor, the first time.

Studies show that most people pick an advisor that they can emotionally and socially connect with, but a sustainable client-advisor relationship must also be built on trust. The financial advisor-client relationship can be similar to the doctor-patient relationship or contractor-home owner relationship. Success in both is based on mutual respect, honesty, trust, active communication, and reasonable expectations.

Trust is hard to establish and even harder to keep. Trusting someone else to always have your best interest at heart and have absolute loyalty towards you doesn’t happen at the first sight. Therefore, interviewing a financial advisor based on referrals or reviews from friends and family is a good start.

Open communication is the key. Once you are able to build a personal connection, you should feel comfortable asking questions. When interviewing an advisor, discuss your needs and state the objectives you wish to accomplish. Prepare to take notes and ask questions until you are comfortable with the scope of engagement.

To get the most of the meeting, I have prepared the following practical questions to help you when interviewing a financial advisor.

1. What type of financial services do you provide? What can I expect from you?

2. How are you being compensated? What other fees might apply? What is the minimum charge or minimum asset to be managed?

3. What is your investment philosophy? Do you use third party investment managers, mutual funds, or individual stocks and bonds? Because, there are operational expenses charged by mutual funds, exchanged traded funds and third-party managers, what is the total charge you can expect?

4. How many clients does the advisor have? If an advisor has hundreds of clients, realistically how often could you expect a communication to review portfolio and its performance. How often is your investment being monitored?

5. Do you conduct retirement plans or financial plans? What issues can I contact you for information?

6. Have you been disciplined for any sort of unprofessional conduct? Do you hold any professional designations or advance degree? How long have you been in the industry?

Don’t feel compelled to reach a decision right away. Discuss your questions and concerns before making a decision. KW Wealth knows there is a lot of uncertainty amidst these unprecedented times and we want you to know that we are here for you! In an effort to reach out and help as many people as we can, we want to answer questions that you may have! Whether it's about the current economic state, the CARES Act, or something you've been worrying about, post your questions in the link below, and every week (or more frequently, depending on the number of questions) we will post a response! Whether we are the right fit for you or not, we want to help you or guide you towards the right direction.


Below is the 7-step process KW Wealth Management developed to work with our clients. We balance values with service, sustainability, and continuous improvement to our client relationships.

1. KW Wealth begin our relationship by identifying the client’s goals, risk tolerance, time horizon, and objectives.

2. Once the client’s personal and financial goals, needs and priorities are determined, we form an investment policy with our client.

3. Then, we evaluate the client’s information, including financial statement analysis, risk management and economic analysis

4. KW Wealth will develop a customized investment and financial plan recommendation.

5. KW Wealth represent the plan to the client and obtain necessary revision and modifications.

6. KW Wealth Management will implement the financial plan based on a mutual agreement on timeline and reasonable upside and downside expectations.

7. KW Wealth Management will continue to monitor the plan periodically and meet with our clients quarterly in order to make necessary adjustments.

If you are interested in learning more about the financial planning process at KW Wealth Management, you can request a free consultation.