If you’ve set aside any money for retirement, you have probably worked with an advisor or financial planner. He or she could be a friend or relative, someone you met at a networking function, or someone referred to you by a co-worker. You may like this person and trust his or her advice, but is this the right person to manage your money through retirement? Ask yourself these questions.
- Does this person have a fiduciary standard of care or a suitability standard of care?
- Is this advisor asking for your input as you develop a financial strategy, or are you being told what to think?
- Does the advisor work alone or does he or she have a professional team managing your investments and looking out for your interests?
- Is your financial planner’s advice tailored specifically to your goals, or are you getting the same blanket advice – and product mix (mutual funds, stocks, bonds, etc.) – offered to all of the advisor’s clients?
- Is your advisor a retirement income specialist?
- Is he or she reviewing your plan regularly and making adjustments as needed?
- Do you have a way of objectively measuring your advisor’s success in reaching your financial goals?
If you’ve accumulated money for retirement, you’ve earned the right to have an advisor who knows and understands your financial goals. You’ve also earned the right to work with an advisor who understands economics, how to invest in bear and bull markets, and who works with a professional team that stands ready to meet your needs and answer your questions.
If you have that type of advisor, congratulations! They are in short supply, according to Craig L. Israelsen, an associate professor at Brigham Young University who teaches personal and family finance, in a SmartMoney.com article from May 2011. If your advisor doesn’t meet your desired standards, or you’d like to learn how you can get the most out of your advisor relationship, contact us for more information or listen to Life Design Financial Radio each Saturday at 1 p.m. PST on KBRT 740 AM.