Top Things to Ask a Financial Advisor
Kendra Erkamaa

Article by
Kendra Erkamaa, CEO & Financial Advisor Triangle Financial Services, Inc.

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Financial Planning Industry: Selecting an Advisor

“Life is Change, Growth is Optional”

I heard that book title the other day, and even though I haven’t read the book, I found myself considering the title in relation to my profession. As in the case of life itself, there exists a lot of change in the financial world. My job as an advisor is to stay informed and help my clients navigate their options. However, despite consistent advances in technology and an ever-changing landscape of regulations, I make sure three things remain constant for my clients — our relationship, our collaboration toward growing their wealth, and always being a good steward of their money.

I am reminded of the value financial advising offers and the critical impact we have to help shape future lives of our clients and their families in profound ways. Because of that, I cannot emphasize enough the importance of finding the right financial advisor for your own needs.

The first thing to consider when you’re looking for the right advisor is what information you are seeking and how it will impact your decisions now and for the future:

  • Is the advisor a Fiduciary? “Fiduciary” means an advisor pledges to act in the client’s best interests at all times. Any designation of Certified Financial Planner, Registered Investment Advisor or Investment Registered Advisor has fiduciary standards that must be upheld.
  • Does the advisor have a clean record? Do some research through FINRA Broker Check https://brokercheck.finra.org/ and SEC Action Lookup https://www.sec.gov/litigations/sec-action-look-up. Check for criminal convictions or investigations by any regulatory bodies or investment industry groups.
  • What is their fee structure or how do they get compensated for their work? Typically, there are commissions and fees included for advisory work, which can be charged as a percentage of assets or at an hourly rate. There is currently a big push for fee-only advisors as the fiduciary standard. However, the industry has been changing, and some options (such as insurance products) are only available on commission, so blended structures and hourly options might be worth considering.
  • What are services I can expect to receive? It is important for you to have the right expectations for what your advisor will provide other than just investment guidance and how/how often that will be delivered.
  • What is the investment strategy? You need clarity on how your advisor makes decisions. Ask if they have a process, access to resources or a team, and evaluate if these align with your values.
  • Why are they a financial advisor? Hearing how your advisor came to be in their position will help you better understand the person you’ll be trusting and why they have a passion for the work they do.

For me, being a financial advisor is an honor, and to be able to serve others with their wealth and prosperity is something that fills me with joy. I wish for you to find a great financial partner in your journey of navigating all of life’s changes. May it be filled with abundance and prosperity.

Kendra Erkamaa
Securities and Advisory Services offered through Harbour Investments, Inc.

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