When you start your search for an investment advisor preparation is everything.
The more prepared you are before you actually start your search, the better the odds that you will find an investment advisor that meets your needs.
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1. Define your Goals before Conducting Your Search
Before commencing your search to find an investment advisor, it is recommended that you start by first defining your investing or financial goals.
This helps you identity the financial targets you would like to achieve with your investable funds.
You currently have $80,000 in a checking account and you decide (your goal) that you want this $80,000 to double in value to $160,000 in ten years.
Setting a goal to double your money in ten years allows you to focus your search on advisors that have a track record of very high returns.
These types of investment advisors normally invest their clients’ capital in high growth (and high risk) types of investments.
However, the point is that by knowing your financial goals before commencing your investment advisor search, you’ll be in a better position to identity the advisor that will help you reach your goals.
It will also prepare you for your first meeting with the selected advisor, as they will ask you many questions about why you’re investing, and to what ends.
2. Questions to Help You Define Your Investment Goals
Here are a few questions you might want to answer as you define your investment goals.
- What age do you wish to retire at?
- What type of lifestyle do you want when you retire?
- How much do you think that lifestyle will cost?
- Are there other important things you wish to spend money on as time passes on? This might include travel, purchasing a second home, or other similar things.
- Do you want your money to stay untouched for a long period of time, or do you want access to it at all times.
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3. Preparing for your Search
As you have now defined your goals, the next step before commencing your search is to compile a complete financial picture that will be shared with the potential advisor.
- Gathering your financial and banking statements.
- A complete itemization of your debts and other liabilities.
- An accounting of any assets such as real estate that you might possess.
4. Preliminary Research
Coming up with a list of potential investment advisors has never been easier.
Create a list of 5 to 10 potential candidates using a variety of sources, such as:
- The yellow pages.
- A Google search for investment advisors in your area.
- Online directories of local advisors.
- Recommendations from friends and family. This one is very important. Ask those in your social circles if they’ve had success with any particular advisor in the past. Firsthand knowledge is worth a great deal more, as you don’t have to wade through any marketing propaganda that you could otherwise encounter.
5. In-Depth Research
One of the beautiful things about the Internet is that almost every profession is reviewed somewhere online.
Investment advisors have certainly not escaped this trend, and during your investment advisor search you should do an online search for reviews of each of them.
You will likely get a few firsthand accounts from their clients, which should help you trim your list down to a few less choices.
You should also check which of the following qualifications they possess.
- SEC registration.
- A degree in finance or a similar discipline from a recognized institution.
- Any state licenses that apply to investment advisers in your jurisdiction.
Finally, there comes a time when you need to meet with each of the agents left on your list to complete your investment advisor search.
At this point, you need to know the right questions to ask them so you can choose between them.
Here are some good questions to ask.
- What kinds of commission do you get on the products you sell?
- How do you ensure a balanced portfolio for your clients?
- What do you do to help guard against risk?
Follow these steps and you will be well on your way to finding your new investment advisor.
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