How to Find Your Ideal Advisor Match

Key Questions to Ask Potential Financial Advisors


Everybody’s financial situation and financial goals are as unique as they are. Their hopes and dreams are different from the next person’s, and their attitudes towards money may depend on how much they grew up with, how much they have today, and what they need to fund the life they want to live.

While we all share the challenge of funding our future, we approach the matter of money management in different ways. Some of us take to it and soar, others take a little time to learn the ropes, and still others would rather avoid it.

Confidence in Your Financial Future

It’s safe to say that no matter the journey you’re on, there will be challenges on the road ahead. For you to meet these challenges you’ll be wise to turn your financial dreams into a comprehensive plan. It is much smarter to trust in a plan than it is to trust in a dream.

We believe the best thing you can do to achieve a prosperous life is to have a professional financial advisor directing your financial journey.

Anyone who wants to get their personal or business finances on track ─ and set long-term objectives ─ will find working with an advisor invaluable. Your financial advisor will conduct a comprehensive analysis of your financial needs and goals. They will assist you in structuring savings, investment and risk solutions that target these goals, minimize taxes and provide security for you and your family.

Your financial advisor will know the most trusted paths to follow; you’ll get valuable guidance with making critical financial decisions and you’ll be dissuaded from poor choices that have costly consequences.  With their help and experience, you can face the future with clarity, confidence, and a far greater degree of certainty.

And because your relationship with your advisor will play such a significant part in your life, finding an advisor who will walk beside you: supporting and guiding you every step of the way is vital to your long-term success and confidence.

Placing Your Trust in Experienced Hands

Trust is the most important aspect in building and sustaining the client-advisor relationship. Trust is founded on several advisor character traits, including integrity, competence, and commitment. Trust will help you to share your motivations, concerns and constraints over the years ahead.

Even though advisors come in all shapes and sizes, finding the right one for you is not as difficult as you might think. You just have to make careful screening a must – whether you meet remotely or face-to-face, you need to ask the right questions.

How to draw up a List of Potential Financial Advisors

Before getting financial advice, decide what you want to get out of it. This could depend on your life stage, how much money you have, how much you earn, and what you’re trying to achieve.

Financial advisors’ services and specialties vary. Whilst some provide an array of services, others may specialize in one or two aspects of your financial life.  It is always worthwhile chatting to your friends, family and peers about their financial advisors, and the impact they’ve made on their lives. Alternatively, you can look for financial advisors online, and read about them before deciding to set up a meeting.

Here are some of the most important questions to ask any potential financial advisors to make sure that you are on the same page – both when screening for a match and when it comes to a clear understanding of your investment goals.

For a much broader list of questions, download our easy-to-read EBook.

Screening Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

When you meet an advisor, you get to ask them whatever you wish, but some leading questions are useful to start with, like:

  • ‘Why did you choose to become a financial advisor?’
  • ‘What are your qualifications?’
  • ‘What is your client value proposition?’
  • ‘What kind of clients do you work with?’

The answers you get should assure you that – at a basic level – you’re well matched (or not).  Now let’s go a little deeper with the following questions.

 Are You a Fiduciary?

A financial advisor is a job title that anyone advising about your finances can use. If you’re in the market for a financial advisor, you should strongly consider a financial advisor who is a fiduciary.

When you are named a fiduciary, you are required by law to manage the person’s money and property for their benefit, not yours, and you’ll find that most financial advisors are bound by fiduciary duty and are therefore legally required to work in your best interest.

Working with a fiduciary means you may be certain that their ethics are of a high standard and that they are bound to uphold them.

What Financial Services do You Provide?

Good financial advisors will be able to craft their services to your needs. Many will be skilled in the financial planning foundations that support your journey, like personal financial planning, investment management, insurance planning, retirement planning, tax planning, and legacy planning.

You need to make sure that they are skilled in your particular areas of need, and can help you craft a plan that puts your financial future front and center and on the right track.

What is Your Investment Philosophy?

We all tend to trust those people and worthy causes that reflect our values, so you must make sure your financial advisor shares your money values. If you’re a cautious realist who values certainty over risk, it is unlikely that you’ll work well with a super-confident risk-taking go-getter.

Working in alignment from day 1 builds a stronger bond between you and the person advising on your life’s finances.

What has Been the Feedback from Your Other Clients?

There’s nothing like glowing tributes to build your confidence in the person to who you’ll be entrusting your money. Testimonials from their existing clients will give you a sense of what to expect, and what the advisor’s strengths (and weaknesses) are.

Click here to find out more about financial planning and why it’s so important.

Links to Blog: ‘How to Achieve Your Dream Retirement – Looking After Tomorrow Today’

Let’s take a deeper dive into the advisor’s investment approach – exactly how they intend to craft your investment and risk portfolios.

How will You Select the Solutions and Products You Recommend?

You need to get a good idea as to how they go about managing your finances. You’ll want to establish how they select the solutions they recommend you, and what commissions they receive.  Do they put time into educating and coaching you about money? How will they consult you on decisions?

Remember, it’s always important for you to understand what your advisor recommends and why.

How often will You Give Me Reports and Feedback on My Investments?

When it comes to keeping your finger on the pulse, transparency is key; and so you’ll want to understand how they will monitor and manage your investments, what information will you receive and how is it presented to you; how often will you meet and how often will you review your accounts.

What are Your Measures of Success?

What you’re ultimately looking for is an advisor who ‘gets you’ and understands your money mindset and your priorities ─ somebody who can create a portfolio that matches your ambitions and talks to your individual goals. It’s your money, and you should understand and agree with how it’s being deployed.

Where will You Keep My Money?

Another important question has to do with where your money goes. Advisors often partner with third-party money houses and finding out about the partners they choose is a worthwhile exercise. Competent partners will have rules of access and will do a lot to oversee how your money is handled and protected.

How Do I Pay You?

Lastly, you must keep a close eye on the fees you’ll be paying – both to your advisor and for any funds bought on your behalf. Ask about their fees or payment structure.

Most advisors can tailor their fees to your requirements – it’s part of the customizable nature of the financial plan. So, settle on a fee you’ll be happy with, or agree to a commission.

Links to Blog [‘How Financial Planning turns Your Life into a Confident Journey and Your Dreams into Reality (content developed)].

Finding the right financial advisor is integral to forming a relationship that will benefit both of you. Most advisors are in it for the long haul and recognize the value of helping you to grow your money and your ability to manage it. As fiduciaries, they buy into the value of putting your best interests above theirs.

Here’s how WestStar’s Spencer Hill sees his role.

‘My clients are concerned with doing all they can to protect and provide for their families. Most are worried about taxes eating away at their portfolio, and are looking to learn more about optimizing their finances, and to ensure they‘re doing everything possible to maximize their compensation benefits, lower their taxes, and grow their wealth.’

Spencer Hill, MBA, Financial Consultant.

Make Sure You Get Along

You won’t get ahead if you don’t get along. Before you can trust someone, you have to like them. You don’t need to be best friends, but there must be a connection or bond that draws you together: the closer you are, the more you will be able to share about your hopes, dreams, fears, goals and circumstances.

When you first meet, ask yourself whether this person looks and sounds like the kind of person you can get along with and respect, and whether you feel that you can trust them with helping you create and implement a plan that targets your goals over many years to come.

Will their help and experience enable you to face the future with clarity, confidence, and a far greater degree of certainty?

WestStar’s advisors offer personalized advisory services and are committed to putting your interests first for a more secure financial future.

We all believe that independent financial advice, personalized 360˚ financial planning, and close guidance are hallmarks of a fulfilling life ─ and real predictors of success. We help you set your sights on accomplishing what matters most to you. We create a personalized 360° financial plan that targets your goals, mitigates your risks, and aligns your decisions with your unique vision of tomorrow.

To make sure you’re equipped with the knowledge and advice to pursue your financial plan with confidence, don’t hesitate to get in touch.  We’d love to talk with you about your goals and dreams.

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We wish you every success in the future and hope to hear from you soon.