Question: We need a new advisor. We are not wealthy and don’t have a high net worth, however, our combined married income is pretty decent, and we should have more in retirement and investments than we currently have. We moved from Texas to Arizona over two years ago and decided we should have a local advisor. However, since the initial and follow-up meeting with this new adviser, we haven’t heard a peep out of him for over two years. Our last guy in Texas set up a meeting every six months. We have a lot going on and just want someone that will give us the numbers, facts and options for those numbers and facts. Patience would be nice too. What should we do?
Answer: It sounds like your relationship with your adviser isn’t a good fit. Elliot Dole, certified financial planner at Buckingham Strategic Wealth, recommends finding one with whom you’re able to connect with and set mutual expectations on matters like meeting frequency. Experts say you should meet with an adviser anywhere from once a year to once each quarter, depending on your investments, and personal preferences.
Since you liked your old adviser, you may want to go back. “What could it look like to renew the relationship with the past adviser and primarily meet by video and phone?” says Dole. If you prefer meeting in person, you’ll want to make sure your adviser is local, but thanks to virtual meeting platforms, there’s no real reason that you need someone around the corner to handle your finances — unless that’s what you prefer.
How to sever ties with your current adviser
In order to sever ties with your current adviser, Craig Borkovec, financial adviser at Miracle Mile Advisors, says the best thing to do is to express your lack of satisfaction and give a detailed explanation to the adviser so they know the exact reason you’ll no longer be working with them. Here’s a list of seven things to do when leaving your current adviser.
What to look for in a new adviser — and how to help ensure you’ll have better communication with this one
Before hiring a new adviser, be sure to ask potential advisers these 15 questions. “Ask them how long they’ve been advising, ask them to tell you about their education and what credentials they have. See if they have a specific niche of client, and if you have a 401(k), do they know that 401(k) and have they advised on it before,” says certified financial planner Rick Kahler.
As for communication, Kahler says you should also ask things like what does it look like to be your client, how often will we speak and what’s the mode of communication. And for his part, senior wealth adviser Andrew Meyer, managing director from MAI Capital, says you should “discuss your expectations and what you’d like to gain from the relationship” — which includes communication preferences. He adds that having a clear and actionable financial plan is a great first step to financial success, but sticking to that plan is where two-way communication becomes critical.
And, of course, make sure you do your diligence: You may want to find an adviser with a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, as both of these require the adviser to be a fiduciary. And Luis Strohmeier, certified financial planner and wealth adviser at Octavia Wealth Advisors, says one of the simplest and easiest ways for an individual to do their due diligence when researching a potential financial adviser is through the Investment Adviser Public Disclosure website or through third party sites like BrokerCheck. “This allow individuals to search the adviser’s registration records to ensure the adviser they’re considering hasn’t had disclosure incidents, client complaints or have been involved in suspicious activity,” says Strohmeier. Finally, here’s a list of ways to vet a new adviser.