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How to Pick a Financial Advisor

Are you busy? Overwhelmed and need a little help managing your life? There are so many things that require our attention and decision making, it’s hard to stay on top of it all – and do it with confidence and complete knowledge. This is where hiring experts to assist you can really bring peace of mind and reduce stress. You may hire a CPA or a lawyer to handle more complicated nuanced activities for you. By hiring them you do not have to become an expert in taxes or law – that sounds worth it to me!

Who do you turn to when you need advice on financial decisions? Maybe your partner, your parent(s) or a friend? What level of expertise do they have in this area? If investments are their profession, then we’d say they’re probably pretty qualified to give you advice on investments. But what about all of your financial decisions and financial health? Do they know every number tied to your personal wealth? When advice is given with only a piece or two of the puzzle, that advice might not be accurate.

This is where working with a financial advisor could be just what you need. Financial advisors are professionals in wealth management (i.e. investments) and financial planning – the complete review of all your assets and liabilities, insurances, benefits, taxes, estate planning and retirement preparedness. However, not all financial advisors offer the same services, same fees or are even fiduciaries. Just like any industry, there are always few out there that may tarnish the reputation of the lot. So how do you pick the right financial advisor for you? Here are 10 characteristics you should look for when interviewing financial advisors:

1. Purposeful: They have a clear mission to serve clients and help them reach their goals.

Great advisors want to do great work for their clients. They stake their business on doing the right thing—and know that business success will follow.

2. Empathetic: They know they cannot effectively serve clients without genuinely relating to them. 

To serve well, an advisor must assume a client’s perspective. Empathetic advisors put themselves in their clients’ shoes and work to understand what matters most to them.

3. Authentic: They reveal their true selves to clients. 

Effective advisors elevate the connection with clients by revealing their own personal stories. A willingness to be transparent and vulnerable helps build client trust and encourages real communication.

4. Intellectually curious: They continue to search for the most robust solutions for clients. 

Great advisors are on a continual path of professional improvement. They are lifelong learners, open to new ideas and committed to honing their technical knowledge and skills.

5. Personally inquisitive: They work hard to uncover what’s truly meaningful to their clients.

Engaged advisors also have mastered the personal side of advice. They ask probing questions to better understand their client’s views on money and life before creating a plan.

6. Quiet: They listen more than they talk. 

Active listening encourages clients to reveal their deeper thoughts—and often, an advisor’s best answer is to ask a question that sparks creative analysis and self-discovery.

7. Passionate: Their unwavering desire to do well for others drives constant improvement. 

A strong sense of conviction to do right by clients compels great advisors to continue honing their craft and ultimately enhance the value clients receive.

8. Entrepreneurial: They run their practice as a business and plan strategically for the future.

Advisors can better serve clients when they run successful firms. Just as they encourage financial responsibility in their clients, top advisors apply a high standard to managing their own enterprise.

9. Honest: They set realistic expectations about controllable actions and probable outcomes. 

While the best advice may not be easy to hear, great advisors communicate essential truths about money and investing so that clients have realistic expectations about their wealth.

10. Disciplined: They don’t let market swings or media messages drive impulsive actions. 

Effective advisors know the importance of preparing clients to navigate changing markets and apply discipline at crucial times, which can lead to a more enjoyable and promising financial journey.

While this may seem long, it’s important to think carefully before selecting someone to help manage your money and your future. At CAM Investor Solutions we strive to be all these things for our clients, ourselves and our business. We are fiduciaires that put the needs and desires of our clients first. This transparency allows us to have peace of mind that we’re doing what’s right and best for them. Want to know more about CAM and how these ten characteristics are embodied at CAM, set up a free introductory call with us.

Source: Dimensional Fund Advisors. M & A Consulting Group, LLC, doing business as CAM Investor Solutions is an SEC registered investment adviser. As a fee-only firm, we do not receive commissions nor sell any insurance products. We provide financial planning and investment information that we believe to be useful and accurate. However, there cannot be any guarantees. 

This blog has been provided solely for informational purposes and does not represent investment advice or provide an opinion regarding fairness of any transaction. It does not constitute an offer, solicitation or a recommendation to buy or sell any particular security or instrument or to adopt any investment strategy. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Diversification does not eliminate the risk of market loss. Tax planning and investment illustrations are provided for educational purposes and should not be considered tax advice or recommendations. Investors should seek additional advice from their financial advisor or tax professional.

As Director of Client Communications, Alyssa engages with all of the firm’s clients to better their experience and make a positive impact on their lives. As an Associate Wealth Advisor and member of the Investment Committee she specializes in working with women, mid-career professionals and families. As an advisor that embodies all these characteristics herself, she is able to easily connect with her clients and their lives.