[caption id="attachment_435" align="alignleft" width="240"] Heather Coulter[/caption]
While still underserved in the financial sector, an increasing number of women want to find a financial advisor – one that is just right for their needs. A 2012 survey conducted by Boston Consulting Group found that over 70% of women were offended by their experiences with financial advisors. You deserve the same quality financial advice and professional relationship your male counterparts enjoy with their financial advisors.
Questions for the Advisor Audition
You wouldn’t go on one date with one guy and then decide to marry him would you? Same goes for choosing a financial advisor. Remember, there’s plenty of fish in the sea. You may need to have an initial consultation with a few advisors before finding the right fit. Think of these as auditions, likened to first dates when looking for love. Consider these questions when first assessing a financial professional:
- Does the advisor hold the proper credentials and certifications? This is first and foremost. Regardless of all the rest, if the papers aren’t in order, it’s a deal breaker.
- Does this advisor talk down to you? This is a bright red flag. If the advisor makes you feel dumb because you lack his or her knowledge of the financial world, it’s not a fit for you. Does he or she quietly giggle at your questions, or cut you off mid-sentence when you try to explain what you mean? You wouldn’t take it on a date, don’t take it at this meeting.
- Does he or she direct most advice toward the man by your side? Because that’s just not o.k. Try to redirect the conversation to you where appropriate. If that doesn’t get results after a couple of tries, end the meeting as quickly as possible and dump that last century attitude.
- Does he or she offer asset management and have competency in portfolio management? An advisor should not focus solely on planning. You’ll need counseling about asset management along with the best possible returns on investments to fund your plan for the future.
- Does the advisor ask specific questions about where you are and where you’re going? Part of the advisor’s job involves assessing your vision for your future and helping you develop a clear course of action to get there.
- Does this advisor see you as a partner in the process? Remember, you and others like you bankroll the advisor’s personal lifestyle. This should fuel a high level of motivation to cultivate a trusting partnership with you and develop an effective strategy to strengthen this alliance.
Choose a financial professional that takes a vested interest in your personal needs and future financial vision – one makes you say, “I do!”
Romancing Your Financial Future
Jumping into a romance with the wrong guy sets you up for all kinds of heartache. And, incidentally, a hit to your nest egg when you choose to go rebound shopping and end up with a new pair of True Religion® jeans and some red Jimmy Choo® stilettos. Jumping into a relationship with the wrong financial advisor or planner can adversely (sometimes irrevocably) alter your financial future and your current options.
Do You Have Chemistry?
As with any relationship, personal chemistry plays a vital role in the advisor you choose. No matter what your level of financial knowledge, your advisor should never talk down to you or make you feel as if you’re not as important as all their other clients—male or female—and no matter how substantial your portfolio.
Many people, including plenty of the male persuasion, don’t understand basic investment terminology and concepts. When you choose Mr. (or Ms.) Right Advisor, make sure that he or she will patiently explain the fundamentals and their individual investment strategy in a non-condescending manner. You want to leave meetings with your CFP®, feeling enlightened and emboldened not scolded or confused. You’re not under anyone’s thumb.
Note the Desk-Side Manner
How often will you meet with your advisor? When you call, will your advisor be available, or will you get the voice mail shuffle? Will he or she return your calls the same day?
Your financial advisor should engage in a give and take dialogue with you. Part of this involves regular, honest, timely communication.Time really is money when your financial future is at stake.
Final Pearls of Wisdom
If nothing else, just remember: don’t settle. Your financial future is too important for “good enough”. Educate yourself further about what to look for in a financial advisor by consulting several authoritative sources. Armed with what you learn, shop around until you find just the right one.
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Posted on Mon, May 20, 2013
by Heather Coulter