When potential clients come in for an introductory meeting, I find that they frequently ask me the wrong questions. While my background and my firm’s corporate culture (“servicing our clients” is our priority) are important topics, details like specific investments and historical rates of return shouldn’t be the focus of the initial meeting. Instead, focus on matchmaking your specific needs with the right financial advisor.

Do you have experience working with clients of my profile?

Like a first date, your financial advisor may try to impress you with stories, but the focus of the conversation should be you, and your needs and goals. You need a financial planner who is ready to develop a personalized financial plan for you.  Will he dig deep to understand your financial goals, savings and spending patterns, and other issues? You may want to show up for your first meeting prepared by filling out this questionnaire. 

A financial advisor with solid experience with clients with similar financial backgrounds and needs is most likely to make the most appropriate portfolio allocation recommendations for you.  For example, if you’re looking for real estate in Dubai, I’m not your person. On the other hand, if you want or have U.S. investment or retirement (IRA) accounts, or if you receive an inheritance or other lump sum, feel free to discuss tailored investment options with me.

Do you have cross-border experience?

If you are a dual citizen, you need a financial advisor who is fluent in cross-border issues and dual currency concerns.  A cross-border professional has expertise in how to diversify your holdings across various investments, and he’ll consider both U.S. dollars and foreign currencies. By setting up a U.S. investment account, you may benefit from a wide selection of investment choices (stocks, bonds, exchange traded funds (ETFs), mutual funds, and more), transparency, and certain tax advantages.

For more useful tips on selecting an advisor who will educate rather than dictate to you, click here.

Douglas Goldstein, CFP®, investment advisor is the Director of Profile Investment Service, Ltd., which specializes in helping people who live in Israel with their US dollar assets and American investment and retirement accounts. He helps olim meet their financial goals through asset allocation, financial planning, and using money managers.

Published March 5, 2018.

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