Choosing a financial planner can be tricky. If you don’t know the jargon or what exactly a financial planner can do for you, making the choice can be particularly daunting.
To make an informed decision and choose a financial planner who can set you up for the life you want without worrying about money, there are many factors to consider. Here are ten useful questions you should ask your financial planner to help you make the right choice.
1. Are you a financial adviser or a financial planner?
A financial adviser is typically there to help you with a specific problem. They might arrange a pension for you, sort out your investments, or put some life or illness protection in place.
Financial planners, on the other hand, take a long-term, holistic approach to your finances. Financial planners find out what you want to do with your life, how your finances as a whole fit into that picture and then propose ways for you to achieve your life goals.
Whether you’re thinking about a second home by the sea or you want to make sure your children or grandchildren have a financial safety net to rely on, your financial planner will work with you to turn these wishes into reality.
2. Are you Chartered?
The best way to ensure your financial planner can offer you a trusted, quality service is to check if they are Chartered. As a Chartered body of more than a century’s standing, the Chartered Insurance Institute only grants Chartered titles to individuals and organisations that meet strict qualifying criteria.
Choosing a financial adviser with Chartered status gives you the peace of mind that you’re dealing with a trusted professional who operates to high ethical standards. It also means your financial planner has achieved a high level of technical competence, and so is well-placed to give you the very best advice and service.
3. Are you independent?
Independent planners are free of any conflicts of interest. They are not driven by commission, so aren’t encouraged to recommend a particular company over another that might have a product more suitable for you.
Compare this to restricted advisers who can only recommend certain products and providers, which can result in you receiving advice that isn’t best suited to you. An independent financial planner is free to search the whole market, as they are not affiliated with any particular financial product or provider. You can, therefore, be sure that any recommendation is right for you.
Choosing an independent financial planner ensures the advice you receive is personal and based upon your objectives and aspirations.
4. Do you have experience working with people like me?
When choosing a financial planner, it’s important to find someone who understands your concerns, goals and aspirations. So, ask your planner whether they have experience of working with clients like you.
If you’re going through a divorce, or you’re a female entrepreneur looking to protect your growing business, you need a planner like us who has wide experience dealing with that type of client. If we didn’t, how could we expect to understand your worries and give you the very best advice?
5. How will you work with me for the long term?
Reaching your long-term goals is an ongoing process which needs to adapt as your priorities shift over time. This means that you need a financial planner who wants to work with you over the long term and is on hand whenever you need them.
Ask whether your financial planner will commit to developing a long-term relationship with you so that they can support, coach, and advise you as your circumstances change.
For example, we won’t sell you a product and then disappear, never to be seen again. We’re here to meet with you regularly, be on hand to provide guidance when you need it and to work with you over years and decades to help you achieve your goals.
6. How will your investment and planning process help me to meet my goals?
Your investments are a vehicle to fund your financial plans – nothing else. Your financial planner, therefore, needs to coach you make the best financial decisions to meet these plans and to have a tried and tested philosophy that works.
Ask your planner whether your plan will be unique to you, what their investment philosophy is, and how their principles inform the decisions that will ultimately help you to meet your life goals.
7. How is your approach different?
Every financial adviser will tell you that they do things differently. Most, however, will still ‘sell’ you a product rather than asking you what you want to do with your life, and what part your finances play in this.
Ask your financial planner what value they can add. Are they interested in you, or just your money?
For example, our extensive experience tells us that there is a significant correlation between your attitude to finance and your return on investments, rather than just the performance of your investments. This is why our planning process involves behavioural investment coaching.
By exploring your relationship to money and any misgivings or worries you may have about your finances, we help you become more confident. This way you can stop worrying, and let your money work for you while you take a step back to enjoy your life.
8. Can you help me with all aspects of financial planning?
A good, all-round financial planner can support you with all your financial planning needs. So, ask your planner whether they can look after all your pension, investment, mortgage and estate planning needs.
9. Do you have good reviews?
No matter how good your planner seems on paper, find out what their other clients are saying about them. You’re likely to establish a lifelong partnership with your financial planner, and clients who have been with them for years can provide you with valuable insight.
Check out the planner’s website or look for reviews on Google or sites such as Trustpilot or VouchedFor.
“Rajesh and his team at The Finance Lab have simply been amazing in every single way!” – Susan Liew
10. How do I get in touch with you?
If you’re looking for a Chartered financial planner who has experience with clients like you, great reviews and takes a holistic approach to your finances, please get in touch. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0116 262 1414.