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5 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

5 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

April 11, 2024

These days, we’re inundated with choices. Whether it’s selecting a restaurant or a doctor, the abundance of options can leave us feeling overwhelmed and unsure. When it comes to picking a financial advisor, the stakes are even higher. How do you determine the right fit for your situation and personality? The advisor you choose will significantly influence your investment strategy, fees, and confidence in your financial future. Given the varying levels of service, experience, and ability among advisors, it’s crucial to take your time in finding one who meets your needs and instills confidence.

Many of our clients are medical professionals and nurses, and I’ve noticed they often ask the same questions, most of which should be clearly answered on any financial advisor’s website. Let’s go over 5 questions you should ask your financial advisor—and why the answers are so important.  

1. Are You a Fiduciary?

The importance of this first question cannot be overstated! A fiduciary advisor is someone who’s legally obligated to act in your best interest as they manage your assets or money. That means they can’t recommend a financial product in pursuit of fees and commissions for themselves. They can only make money on fees from their clients.

How can you know for certain an advisor you’re interviewing is a fiduciary? The firm will either be listed as a Registered Investment Advisor or the advisors on the team will hold certifications that hold them to the fiduciary standard, such as the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Chartered Financial Analyst®, or Certified Public Accountant professional designations. Keep in mind, if the advisor doesn’t fit those descriptions, they may still act as a fiduciary in certain situations, like sharing a recommendation, but not necessarily when selling products. 

Prosperity Financial Solutions is an independent financial planning firm that represents the best interests of our clients, not any specific company. We have no ties to any parent or subsidiary businesses, which allows us to provide unbiased recommendations. Our commitment to our clients is what drives us to be the best we can be.

2. What Financial Planning Services Do You Offer?

Not all financial advisors can provide comprehensive financial planning. Some cannot sell insurance or securities, such as mutual funds or stocks, if they don’t have the appropriate licenses. Ask a financial advisor what services they provide, whether or not they have a focus, and if they offer a broad spectrum of solutions to meet your needs. When creating a plan together, ask your advisor why they recommend particular services and solutions over others.

At Prosperity Financial Solutions, our comprehensive services include retirement planning, financial planning for nurses, and college planning services. Make sure the specific services your potential advisor provides align with your needs.

3. How Much Do You Charge?

This one seems pretty obvious, but you’d be surprised how many people forget to ask how much a financial advisor charges. It’s common for fee-only advisors to get paid according to the size of their clients’ assets under management (AUM). So, the client with $100 million in AUM will pay more in fees than the client with $5 million in AUM. 

The most common way we are compensated is by an Assets Under Management (AUM) fee, which is paid monthly, based on the value of your assets. We also hold insurance licenses in multiple states, so when appropriate in unique circumstances, we can offer insurance products from leading, well-respected companies.

Too often, advisors don’t readily discuss their fee structure. Don’t get blindsided by hidden fees you didn’t know about!

4. Who Do You Serve?

Typically, financial advisors specialize in serving a particular profession or demographic, so you’ll want to find this out before choosing an advisor. Why is this important? Because you deserve advice and services tailored to your unique needs. If the advisor does have a specialty and it matches your needs, that’s great news!

For example, advisors who specialize in financial planning for nurses (such as myself) have a much better understanding of the financial nuances of the nursing industry than other firms. Our experience in these areas allows us to give you the advice that will make the most difference in your life.

5. Who Else On Your Team Will Be Working With Me?

At some firms, you’re assigned multiple advisors, while at others, you’re paired up permanently with a specific advisor. You have every right to meet any other team members you’ll be working with.

At Prosperity Financial Solutions, we have assembled a team of elite professionals to provide the best possible client experience. Our expert accountants, attorneys, and other local experts work closely with each individual or family to help them maximize the efficiency of their portfolio. To us, you’re part of our family, not just an account. Our flexibility with personal detail gives our clients their best chance at  financial success.

Connect With the Right Financial Advisor

Based in Palm Beach, Florida, we at Prosperity Financial Solutions spend a lot of time getting to know our clients. Whether it’s financial planning for nurses, or another service we offer, we strive to align our services with each client’s needs. 

Do you have any questions to determine if we’re a good match to partner with you on your financial journey? Contact us by calling(561) 207-6213, emailing davidwilcoxfinancial@yahoo.com, or bybooking a 30-minute complimentary call online

About David

David Wilcox is president and cofounder of Prosperity Financial Solutions, a financial services firm, based in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, specializing in retirement planning, estate planning, and investments. Since 1987, David has been assisting pre-retirees, retirees, and investors with comprehensive retirement planning, helping them preserve their wealth, increase their retirement income, and avoid common financial mistakes. Prioritizing financial education, he employs strategies to instill confidence and comfort in his clients as they make decisions and move toward their ideal financial future. He also highly values building relationships with clients and strives to make them feel like part of his family.

David holds an associate’s degree from Broward College, a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, as well as the Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF®) and Long-Term Care (CLTC®) certifications. A firm believer in professional education and participation, he is a member of the Global Financial Association, a member of NAIFA (National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors), and is a Certified National Long-Term Care instructor. Teaching and mentoring other financial advisors, David presents dozens of seminars and workshops on long-term care and investment planning throughout the country. Outside of the office, family man David enjoys golfing, fitness, and spending time with his kids on the boat, going for long walks, and traveling to new places. He wants to provide a positive example for his children and show them that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. To learn more about David, connect with him on LinkedIn.

Registered Investment Advisors and Investment Advisor Representatives act as fiduciaries for all of our investment management clients. We have an obligation to act in the best interests of our clients and to make full disclosure of any conflicts of interests, if any exist. Please refer to our firm brochure, the ADV 2A item 4, for additional information.