Whether markets are bullish, bearish, or in total turmoil, a reliable financial advisor can guide you through the peaks and valleys of the financial markets and provide the direction and reassurance you need.
You may know to look for accreditations, years of experience, and disciplinary records. But beyond those core requirements, there are other important qualities to consider that will help you find the right financial advisor to help you navigate uncertain times. Keep in mind these five qualities to find the right financial professional for your goals and needs.
Humility is not a quality that often comes to mind when we think of finance professionals. But today’s world is filled with an abundance of information that is readily accessible and constantly changing. It’s unlikely that a single advisor will have their finger on the pulse of every changing dynamic regarding financial markets, tax legislation, estate planning, and lending rates, amongst other things.
According to Scott Gill, CFP of Gateway Financial Advisors, “Having an advisor that is humble enough to know their own limitations, has the courage to say, “I don’t know,” and the support network to find the answer to help the client make the next best decision is of critical importance.”
Empathy is an important quality in a financial advisor. A financial advisor who is empathetic will actually listen to your concerns and understand your emotions and priorities. “If they don’t hear you, you might reach their goals, but not your own”, says Cathy Gent, owner of Global Investment Company.
Look for an advisor with whom you feel comfortable discussing not just money matters but some emotional matters as well. After all, money is an emotional topic for most of us.
Is your financial advisor approachable? Do you feel comfortable calling her when you have a question about your portfolio or before you enter into a new mortgage or loan? Is your financial advisor one of the first three people you think to contact when you are considering any change that may impact your finances? If not, then your financial advisor is likely not approachable. You should feel comfortable asking questions and having discussions with your advisor about major life events that could affect your financial goals.
How often do you hear from your financial advisor? Are you always the one to reach out to ask questions? Look for a financial advisor who is proactive and updates you, regardless of the condition of the financial markets. A proactive financial advisor will reach out to you to update you about your portfolio but also check in with you to see if there are any major life events going on that require a recalibration of your financial goals.
Your relationship with your advisor should ideally be a two-way street. Communication from your advisor should increase – not decrease – once you’ve opened your account with your advisor’s firm. If it doesn’t, then you likely don’t have a proactive financial advisor.
Financial planning is about more than just managing your money. At its core, it’s about helping you reach your life goals through the successful management of your resources. This requires a holistic approach to financial planning that considers not just your financial assets in a brokerage account, but your home, your retirement account, your responsibilities to your immediate and extended family, as well as your goals.
A financial planner who takes a holistic approach will discuss issues such as loan refinancing, budgeting, and estate planning with you. “We work closely with financial planners who understand the importance of not just building assets, but protecting them for the next generation,” says Somita Basu, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Bay Area estate planning firm, Norton Basu LLP.
Ultimately, finding the right financial advisor is about more than just numbers. It’s about personality, dedication, and the right fit for your personality and goals. Keep these five qualities in mind to find the best financial professional for you.