Working with a financial adviser can seem intimidating at first. You may not know what to expect or how to approach delicate financial matters. Even if you've worked with a financial adviser for a long time, things may begin to feel stale or rote, and you may be wondering how to get more out of your meetings.
It's never too late for a refresher on how to make the most of your adviser-client relationship. Follow these tips to maximize the value you're getting from your financial adviser.
1. Always be honest
The prospect of opening up your finances to a third party can feel daunting. After all, this is usually a very private part of your life. Maybe you're not great at budgeting. Perhaps you're embarrassed to fess up to your online shopping habits. Or maybe you don't want to appear foolish by admitting you don't understand the complexities of financial planning.
Don't be afraid to be honest. As financial advisers, we've heard it all, and we're not here to judge you. Just as a doctor needs to know all your symptoms to provide the best treatment, so, too, we need to have a thorough understanding of your financial picture to provide the best advice. It's our job to handle personal financial information with the utmost of care, discretion and confidentiality.
2. Ask probing questions
Think of your financial adviser as a valuable resource. A big part of what you should be getting is the benefit of our experience, knowledge and professional judgment. And a good way to access that benefit is to ask questions.
You should leave each discussion with clarity, not confusion. Don't hesitate to probe deeper if something doesn't make sense. Even if we don't know the immediate answer, you can expect us to investigate and get back to you within a reasonable timeframe.
3. Insist on transparency
Start by understanding whether your adviser is a fiduciary. When you work with a financial adviser who is held to the fiduciary standard they are required to give you the best advice for your situation. When it comes to financial services, fees are a common source of confusion (and headaches) for the average consumer. You have every right to understand what you're paying in fees-and what you're getting in return.
Bruce Helmer and Peg Webb are financial advisers at Wealth Enhancement Group and co-hosts of "Your Money" on News Radio 830 WCCO on Sunday mornings. Email Bruce and Peg at email@example.com. Securities offered through LPL Financial, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser. Wealth Enhancement Group and Wealth Enhancement Advisory Services are separate entities from LPL.