Step 1: Make sure your priorities are aligned.
There are many important decisions to make when preparing for retirement — you want to be sure you and your financial advisor are on the same page. Search for trustworthy professionals who focus on providing strategies and services that may help you become more confident in your retirement income plans. The right experienced professionals can provide the guidance and solid judgment needed to help you achieve your future financial goals.
Step 2: Ask questions!
Is the advisor you’re considering telling you things that sound too good to be true? Don’t be afraid to investigate and ask difficult questions.
Remember, there are many financial tools with different features. Therefore, it’s important to understand the details, benefits and restrictions, and how they pertain to your unique situation. There are usually strings attached — you need to know what they are and if they are acceptable to you and in line with your financial goals.
Step 3: Understand the fees you may be paying.
Regardless of which financial vehicles you choose, you may be paying one form of fee or another. Generally speaking, you may be able to lower fees by reallocating a portion of your assets into select conservative vehicles (such as fixed annuities, certificates of deposit, money market accounts, etc.). In addition, you may be able to keep the same portion of your portfolio in the market and still reduce fees. But to do so, it’s important to know what you are currently paying. The investment fee analysis in our assessment of your financial needs can show you precisely how much you’re currently spending in annual fees on your portfolio.
Step 4: Approach online resources with caution.
We’ve already reminded you to ask tough questions of your potential advisors, and there should be no exception to this rule when it comes to scrutinizing Internet research. Today, it is not uncommon for retirees to jump online to do research. Are you sure you’re getting information from a credible source? This can be difficult to decipher online. One way to evaluate whether a website is credible is to read the “About Us” page and look to see if the URL has a .org or .edu extension. These extensions are used by nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. Information overload could be another problem. If you search for the phrase “revocable trust” on Google, you can come up with about 962,000 articles, websites and “resources” to consider.
Online resource can provide you some background information, but a team of trustworthy professionals who are independently recognized for their work in financial services can help you more directly when you have questions specific to your situation.
Step 5: Demand proof! Ask more questions!
Do you invest in your professional knowledge?
This question is a great way to gauge the prospective advisor’s commitment to staying current on industry topics and potential ways to help you meet your retirement income goals. The financial services industry is ever-evolving, so beware of financial advisors who simply pass an exam to become licensed and never commit to ongoing education beyond that point. For that reason, you should consider a financial advisor who regularly engages in industry-specific training and takes continuing education courses to stay current on the products and strategies available in the financial services arena.
Do other professionals trust you to help their clients?
It’s common to ask for references and it isn’t hard for a financial advisor to find three or four people who like them and would give them a good reference. But we believe there is another option. Our question is much different. It certainly means more than just having a friend or client say nice things about us. It gets at reputation, trustworthiness and integrity. This is a much more credible source of information to assess just how good an advisor is at his or her craft.
We believe that having a well-organized team of professionals — because no single person can know everything — provides a truly effective way to plan for retirement. And if one professional is willing share that work with another in the field, that can speak volumes about their reputation and their long-term track record of success.
Step 6: Get a second opinion
Everyone deserves a second opinion, and you can’t obtain a second opinion from the person who gave you the first. We’re committed to the financial success and confidence of each and every client we serve., We invite you to come meet us if you’d like to feel more comfortable and confident about your own future. If you are concerned that your current financial advisor may not be the right person for you anymore, then we hope you will come see us. Our services can help you feel more confident in your retirement income strategies.