This article is reprinted with permission from Esq. Wealth Management, Inc.
Embarking on the journey of financial success demands meticulous planning and informed decisions. Despite the universal desire for prosperity, many individuals overlook the crucial step of creating a comprehensive financial plan. Engaging with a skilled financial advisor becomes pivotal in crafting a personalized strategy aligned with your unique goals and objectives. The initial meeting holds significance as it allows you to assess the potential partnership that will shape your financial future. Equipping yourself with pertinent queries, setting clear objectives, and conducting due diligence ensures that your financial journey begins on a well-prepared and informed note.
Start with Clarity
Take a moment to consider your financial goals and what motivated you to reach out to an advisor in the first place. Whether it’s building retirement savings, planning for your grandchildren’s college expenses, or designing complex trusts for asset protection or mitigating your tax liabilities, having clear objectives will guide the conversation. Remember, it’s normal not to have everything figured out—that’s precisely why you’re seeking professional guidance. That said, get clear on your need for a professional relationship—it’ll typically be one of the first questions an advisor will ask.
Conduct a FINRA Check
Before meeting with a financial advisor, it’s important to perform due diligence. A crucial part of this is reviewing the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website with the Securities and Exchange Commission and the BrokerCheck resource with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority. These governmental sites will reveal the advisor’s background, experience, and if there have been any disciplinary actions against the advisor or their firm. These results can provide peace of mind that the advisor is in good standing and has adhered to industry standards and regulations. It’s a simple but effective step in ensuring the advisor’s credibility and legitimacy.
Explore their Digital Footprint
In today’s digital age, a financial advisor’s website and online content can be as telling as a face-to-face meeting. Take the time to explore their website, read through any articles they’ve written, and watch any videos they’ve produced. This content can give you a sense of their knowledge, expertise, and the type of advice they provide. It’s also an opportunity to see if their financial philosophies align with your personal values and goals.
Establish Your Criteria
Reflect on the qualities that are most important to you in a financial advisor. Consider their experience, their client communication style, or their history of dealing with similar financial situations to yours. Knowing your criteria will help you evaluate whether the advisor is the right fit for your financial needs.
Prepare Questions in Advance
Prepare a list of questions that will help you uncover the advisor’s approach and suitability for your needs. Here are a few questions to consider:
- “What does your typical client look like?”
- “What should I expect in terms of communication and collaboration with you?”
- “Can you share your professional background and experience?”
- “How many clients do you serve, and how personalized are your services?”
- “What is the cost structure for your services?”
- “Who comprises your team, and who will I directly work with?”
Trust Your Instincts
After the meeting, assess how you feel. Were all your questions answered to your satisfaction? Did the advisor make you feel at ease? Your instincts can be a powerful gauge of whether the advisor is someone with whom you can build a trusting relationship.
An ethical financial advisor will understand that choosing an advisor is a significant decision that should not be rushed. Be wary of any advisor who pressures you to make a decision on the spot. A genuine advisor will give you the space and time to consider your options.
By embracing these steps, you’re not only preparing for a meeting but setting the foundation for a long-term partnership that aligns with your financial aspirations and personal values. Here’s to finding an advisor who can help you navigate your financial voyage with confidence and trust.
EsqWealth’s Approach to the First Meeting
While different advisors will approach the initial meeting differently, it should be helpful for new clients to understand how EsqWealth approaches the initial meeting. We strongly encourage our clients to start with a comprehensive financial plan that covers all aspects of their financial life. There are essentially three key phases to what we do to help our clients create such a plan: 1) we discuss their goals; 2) we evaluate their current situation; and 3) we devise the overall plan. Their goals dictate the plan, the plan dictates the asset allocation, and the asset allocation dictates the portfolio of investments. In addition to the portfolio of investments, the plan may also consider retirement planning, estate planning, business strategies, asset protection, and tax planning.
High net worth individuals and families often have unique financial goals that can be achieved with advisors who have specialized knowledge and expertise. EsqWealth is a wealth management firm that, in conjunction with its affiliated professionals and alliances, is made up of experienced lawyers and financial professionals with advanced degrees, certifications, and first-hand life-experience in taxation, asset protection, and high-net-worth wealth management.
The information above is not intended to and should not be construed as specific advice or recommendations for any individual. The opinions voiced are for general information only and are not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for tax, legal, or accounting advice. To discuss specific recommendations for any unique situation, please feel free to contact us.