Get more from financial advice: 11 questions to ask
What to ask your financial advisor generally isn’t something learnt in school – it’s learnt through experience. However, you’ll want to ensure that when you do seek financial advice, you’re getting the most from it.
Financial advice is about so much more than ISAs, investments and performance. Good financial advisors don’t just seek to make you wealthier. Instead, they will help you to improve your relationship with money and be confident in your finances.
This relies on your advisor being right for you. Here are just a few suggestions of questions you should ask your advisor to ensure you get the most from financial advice:
- Are you FCA registered, and can you prove it?
If they are not, walk away. You can check the Financial Services Register to confirm that the advisor you are dealing with has permission to carry out their services.
- Are you independent?
An independent adviser not only has access to the whole market for products and investments, but they are also required to provide holistic advice. This means they will spot areas of financial planning you haven’t considered but should and provide a recommendation. Restricted advisers are less likely to do this as they may not have access to products and investments that match your objectives.
- Do you have clients that have similar needs to me?
Ask for examples or case studies to better illustrate how their services could help you.
- How often do you review your clients’ financial plans?
This should be at least annually and is the key to the success of the overall plan.
- Do you use cashflow modellingas part of your advice process?
You can ask for a demo for further clarification. This is probably the most powerful tool to bring together all the elements of a financial plan, helping you to visualise your financial future. Cashflow modelling can help you establish whether your plans are realistic and achievable, and if not, what you can do about it.
- What are your charges and how are they paid?
Make sure you leave any meeting with an understanding of what you are paying and what you are getting for it.
You might consider asking yourself these questions, having met an adviser:
- Did they truly get an understanding of you and what you are looking for?
It is vitally important that you leave the meeting thinking that the adviser gets you and understands what is important to you. The adviser should be asking you lots about you, your family, your experiences and fears with money, your dreams and ambitions. If they talk more about products, performance and technical stuff, they are probably looking to make a sale rather than provide true lifestyle financial planning advice.
- Did they challenge you and explain why?
Quite often clients will come into meetings with preconceived ideas and biases that need challenging and discussing. These challenges will reveal areas of advice to address that you may never have thought of.
- Did the adviser help you set realistic objectives and targets?
It is essential that the adviser helps you to close the gap, if there is one, between expectation and reality. This is where a cashflow model will help enormously.
- Do you trust the adviser to look after your wealth and create your financial plan?
Trust is vitally important and if it doesn’t feel right then you may not have a successful long-term relationship. Remember the advice being given to you now will impact your future self, your children and grandchildren so having a trusting long-term relationship is essential.
- Did they discuss ‘financial wellbeing’?
This is a discussion about money making you happier not just wealthier. Having money doesn’t make you happy – it’s how you use it that does. This can be very different for every case and should form part of any discussion.
If you are considering seeking financial advice and would like to talk to a member of our team here at gpfm, please don’t hesitate to get in touch over email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call
This article is for information only and must not be considered as financial advice. We always recommend that you seek independent financial advice before making any financial decisions. Investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invested.
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gpfm are an independent financial planning company dedicated to the provision of personal, professional, and objective-driven advice for our clients. We have been awarded the Chartered Financial Planners title by the Chartered Insurance Institute for offering high quality, independent and informed advice that meets the needs of our clients.