Ten Questions for your Financial Professional

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- Steve Jobs

Ten Questions for your Financial Professional

To do:

1. Schedule an initial meeting by calling 605-332-9079 or by email at Darwyn@sprikfinancial.com.
2. Complete the paperwork needed to get started.
3. Set up a future meeting schedule.


1. Can you tell me what experience you have?

Ask how long they have been practicing. Find out which companies they have worked for and how their professional experience relates to their current practice. We recommend looking for an advisor who has experience in insurance, tax planning, investments, estate planning, or retirement planning.

2. Can you tell me what your qualifications are?

Ask the advisor what qualifies them to give financial planning advice. Find out if they are recognized as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) professional or practitioner, Certified Public Accountant-Personal Financial Specialist (CPA-PFS), or Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC®). Ask the advisor how they stay up-to-date with the changes and developments in their field. If the advisor is designated or certified in financial planning, you can perform a background check with the CFP board or other professional financial organizations.

3. Which financial services do you offer?

The services an advisor may offer depend on factors such as their credentials, licenses, and expertise. For example, financial advisors generally need to be licensed or registered to be able to sell insurance or securities products (such as mutual funds or stocks). Some professionals provide financial advice, but do not offer assistance with the selection or management of financial products. Other advisors may only offer services in a field they specialize in, such as retirement planning.

4. How do you approach providing a financial strategy?

Find out what kind of clients and financial situations the advisor prefers to work with. Some advisors offer comprehensive financial planning, while others only provide planning in their area of expertise. Ensure that your financial planner's perspective is in line with your own expectations. Ask if the advisor will also help with the selection and implementation of their recommendations or if you will need the assistance of other professionals as well.

5. Will you be working as an individual or as part of a team?

Financial advisors may work individually or with a team of professionals. If they work in a team format, you'll want to meet everyone that will be working with you. Sometimes it may be necessary for your advisor to refer you to professionals in other specialties, such as attorneys or insurance agents.

6. How will I pay you?

Ask for this information in writing. Advisors' fees may be based on an hourly rate, a flat rate, or a percentage of your assets/income. There are many ways advisors are paid:

  • Some receive salary from their employer, which means you will be billed by the employer.
  • Some advisors receive commission and/or fees from the products they offer through a third party.
  • Some earn money with a combination of fees for their advice and commissions from products sold.
  • Some work through hourly-based fees or flat rates for services.

7. What is the typical cost for services?

The cost will vary dependent on the financial professional and the services required, but the advisor should be able to provide you some guidelines so you can estimate possible costs. The costs should include items such as hourly rates, flat fees and percentages.

8. Is there any benefit to third parties from your recommendations?

Some professionals have business relationships that could affect their objectivity and professional judgment. Your financial professional should inform you of any potential conflicts that may arise during your arrangement. An example of these relationships would be where a financial professional sells insurance policies or securities and has a business relationship with the companies that provide those products.

9. Have you ever been reprimanded for unethical or unlawful incidents during your professional career?

Do your homework on your advisor. There are many government and professional regulatory organizations (such as FINRA and the CFP board), that maintain ongoing records that are available to you for research purposes. Ask your advisor which organizations are regulating them and then contact those groups to conduct your checks.

10. Can I have it in writing?

A written agreement that details services that will be provided is something that should be asked for and willingly provided by your financial advisor. Maintain this document in your files for future reference.