When do you need financial advice? How do you find someone you can trust? What should you be aware of when selecting your advisor? This checklist provides the most important points.
A financial expert - human or digital - not only helps you to define your financial goals in a structured way, but can also save you a lot of time and money.
"I know it would be better to ask someone, but how do I find a person I can trust?" - this question bothers many people. And it is indeed not that simple.
It's like hairdressers: finding someone is easy, but finding the right one is quite a challenge.
Based on years of working with women and knowing what helped them make their choice, we’ve created an easy 6 step checklist helping you to find the right financial expert.
Define your goals - where do you need advice?
When is the right time to contact an expert? Here are some examples:
- If you want to plan your retirement
- If you want to create a long-term financial plan
- In moments of life where financial planning is particularly important: marriage, divorce, house purchase, inheritance, becoming self-employed, etc.
- If you want to invest a large amount of money
- If you want to invest in specific financial products, e.g. specific regions, industries or take out a mortgage.
- If you don't have time to take care of everything yourself or are afraid of making mistakes.
Limit your search - what options do you have?
There are many different options. To avoid getting lost in the jungle of financial providers, it helps to define your fundamental direction:
- Should the advice be independent or do you feel more comfortable with a bank that also develops and sells its own products? Independent financial advisors provide advice for a fee. Banks either offer only their own products or a mixture (open architecture).
- Do you need specialists or rather generalists? This depends very much on your goals. A generalist can be particularly useful if you want to review or optimise your finances from scratch.
- Do you prefer a big company or a boutique? If you decide to go to a smaller provider, you should consider how it protects its customers' data and money.
- Is personal contact important to you or would you like an online tool? If personal contact is not so important, you can easily draw on the variety of digital tools for various services.
How do I find a good asset manager?
Unfortunately, only about 20 percent of the advisors deserve a good rating.
We recommend three simple checks. Three yes's will probably get you one of the good ones:
1) Does he/she disclose total costs including third party costs?
2) Does he/she invest directly in shares and bonds (possibly also with ETFs)?
3) Can he/she refer to an independent award or provide references?
Decide whether you want just one or several providers
Topics such as investor protection are important here, but even if you want to combine general financial advice with special topics, having several providers can be beneficial.
Make a shortlist and rate
- How well does the offer fit your needs, do they already serve customers with similar needs?
- Qualification and official registration
- Reputation, e.g. current reports, awards
- Financial strength, ratings of the company
- Costs and cost model
- Are there recommendations from customers, or do friends or relatives have experience?
Go for a trial consultation
Questions you should be asking:
- Do you have clients like me?
- How do your recommendations come about?
- How do you charge for your services? (always ask for total costs, not just percentages)
- What have you achieved for other customers?
- Which products do you offer? Only those from your own institution or also from others?
Reflect and select
What happens before and after the interview is also very meaningful:
- Did she/he take time and listen to you to understand your situation and your goals?
- Did you receive clear and transparent information and relevant explanations?
- Do you realize how much and for what you are paying?
- Did you feel comfortable during the interview?
- How were you treated before and after the meeting?
With good advice, you should never feel pressured - it's your money, you decide what to do with it.
It is true that such a search is time-consuming, but the effort is worth it, because the resulting relationship of trust often lasts for many years.
This article has been produced in partnership with watson, a Swiss news platform.
Here is the link to the original blog article in German.
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