Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Seven Questions to Ask When Picking a Financial Adviser

Great article on how to choose someone to shepherd your wealth.

For example, you might ask: How many clients beat their benchmarks or are in line with their goals? How have clients similar to me fared during recessions? Can you combine all of your clients into a single portfolio and tell me how the overall portfolio did? Remember to ask about both short-term (one year) and long-term (10 years or more) records, and ask if your adviser is using absolute returns or returns relative to the performance of the market.

Next, use the advisers' record to understand how they make decisions. "You can ask about performance, but what you're really after is how the adviser processes decisions," says Mr. Rogers of RayLign Advisory.

He suggests asking advisers to dissect a specific situation that has occurred to them. For instance, you could say, " 'Take your worst investment and evaluate how you made the investment, monitored it and the decisions you made along the way to stick with it or get out,' " he says.

"If you feel they are dodging the question or putting a positive spin on everything, it's a red flag," Mr. Rogers says. "It could mean they're not going to deal with or handle the tough decisions."

If I ever need a financial advisor, I will definitely refer back to this.

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