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What Questions Should Women Ask When Interviewing a Financial Advisor?

December 14, 2020

I was recently asked to participate in a discussion related to questions women should ask when interviewing a financial advisor. I started to reflect on the women who had interviewed me who clearly wanted to make sure they were properly vetting the person who would handle their life savings, but just weren’t sure what questions to ask.

As part of this discussion, I started to think about some of the best questions I’ve ever been asked by potential clients. I believe people have been trained to ask about investment performance, but that question isn’t really going to help you find the right advisor for you. Of course, you should always ask basic, standard questions like:

  • What are your credentials, and how did you obtain them?
  • How do you get paid?
  • Are you a fiduciary?
  • How often will we meet?

But a relationship with a financial advisor can last years, even decades. It can be helpful to go a little deeper to find the right fit. Here are a few great, uncommon questions that an advisor should be able to answer easily.

  • How do you measure success with your clients?

Success should be more than just how much money was made in a given year. Some years the markets are down and that certainly doesn’t mean that everything was a failure that year. Did you move further toward your goals? Is this important to the advisor?

  • What do your clients like about working with you?

I have had a few potential clients ask me why my last client left. I appreciate the sentiment, but this feels a bit like the interview question “What is your greatest weakness?” in that you will probably not get a straight, honest answer. But asking an advisor what their clients like about the relationship should give you an honest look at what it would be like to work with her.

  • What will you do if we disagree?

There may come a time where you don’t agree with a strategy or suggestion your advisor makes. Like any other relationship, having a way to work out your differences is critical to long-term success. I’ve spoken with too many women who felt bullied by their advisor. Why choose that when you can have a relationship with mutual respect and understanding?

There are no right or wrong questions to ask, and no “stupid” questions. Ask what is on your mind, and whatever will give you the confidence that you have selected an advisor with whom you are comfortable.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss. There is no guarantee that a diversified portfolio will enhance overall returns or outperform a non-diversified portfolio. Diversification does not protect against market risk.

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