Though there are many questions you should ask when selecting someone to help you handle your money, consider these three:
#1 Who is the subject of the first meeting
At your initial meeting, the advisor should spend much more time asking you questions than lecturing about who he is. He should start by asking you about your family, finances, and goals. Then, he should dig more deeply to find potential trouble spots, missed details, and possible tax issues.
#2 Are you being lectured at or educated?
If you’re not interested in learning about specific investments, that’s fine. Your advisor can guide you. But he should do it with the heart of a teacher, showing you why he’s advising certain ideas and how those programs can help you reach your goals. If he doesn’t explain his logic, find someone else.
#3 Does he have expertise in areas that are important to me?
Having been in the investment world for almost 30 years, I can tell you: It’s complicated! Even experienced, licensed professionals don’t know everything about every possible investment.
I work with people who have U.S. brokerage accounts or IRA accounts. My clients like working with someone in English, and want to maintain their U.S. accounts while living in Israel. I don’t file taxes for my clients, though I’ll work with their accountants to set up intelligent plans; and I don’t write trusts and wills for people, though I work with those documents all the time when dealing with intergenerational wealth transfer.
The simplest way to find out if a financial professional can help you with your specific situation is to tell him what’s going on and then asking him how he would handle it… which brings us back to Point #1 of this article: Make sure that that your advisor spends a lot of time getting to know who you are.
Want to begin a conversation about your financial future? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, is the director of Profile Investment Services, Ltd. www.profile-financial.com. He is a licensed financial professional both in the U.S. and Israel. Call (02) 624-2788 for a consultation on how to set up your American assets to meet your financial goals. Securities offered through Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, FSI. The opinions expressed are those of the author and not those of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates. Neither PRG nor its affiliates give tax or legal advice.
Published August 10, 2015. Updated May 2023