Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Financial Advisor

Before Hiring a Financial Advisor

Three Questions to Ask Yourself Before Hiring a Financial Advisor
By David Strother, CFP, AIF, AIFA

The decision to hire a financial advisor is rarely simple. Often, there are life circumstances that prompted the need – changing jobs, a marriage or divorce, the birth of a child, etc. However, following through with the decision is a combination of rational and emotional factors.

A financial advisor is a coach, a partner, a friend. We’re teammates along for the journey and captains experienced at guiding a ship. So, it’s critical to find an advisor who’s not only qualified and capable of handling your needs but also compatible with you.

When meeting with a prospective client, I try to uncover the root of their inquiry. I find that asking these three questions can determine if we’ll be a good fit for their journey.

  1. Do you want to steer your own boat despite the weather, or would you be more comfortable with a captain at the helm?

Some people feel more comfortable handling things themselves. Regardless of whether the sailing is smooth or the waters are choppy, they like to know the ship is fully under their control. Others, however, will enjoy the ride and feel more relaxed when a skilled professional is at the helm. A captain leverages his or her experience to make the best decisions possible – keeping passengers informed when necessary and providing reassurance when the voyage gets difficult. When it comes to finances, consider the role you want to play, and if you want someone in your boat who knows how to navigate stormy seas, you’ll likely enjoy working with an advisor.

  1. Do you want someone in the boat with you today – or at another point in your journey?

Finances might be the number one priority in our industry, but we recognize it’s not always top-of-mind for you. Other life circumstances can climb the ladder of importance, and although we believe creating a financial plan early and refining it often will give you great peace of mind, now just might not be the right time. And that’s okay.

  1. If you want the experience of a captain and the time is now, who do you want in the boat with you?

If you value professional advice rather than trying to go it alone, and you’ve determined it’s a good time to get started, then you must ask yourself who you want in the boat with you. Hiring a ‘captain’ is no small decision, and while credentials and qualifications are a must, it’s important to connect with whomever you hire, too. Do they listen to you? Do they understand what you want for your future? Are they trustworthy and someone you enjoy spending time with? When the journey is lifelong, that’s simply too much time to spend in a boat with a crew you don’t like.

Answering ‘no’ to these questions isn’t wrong or bad. It keeps you and the advisor from wasting your time. So, be honest with yourself upfront, and when the time is right, you’ll find the advisor who’s right for you.


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the financial professional and do not represent the views and opinions of Avantax Wealth ManagementSM or its subsidiaries.