This week, we decided to step into the shoes of a client and ask ourselves: “What should we be looking for in a financial advisor?” In our opinion, these are the three things that you should be looking for if you’re searching for a wealth manager.

#1: Are They Independent?

Many financial planners are a part of some larger insurance company or brokerage firm. What this means is that there may be some conflict of interest for the company between its owners, stakeholders and you, the client. An independent advisor will put your best interests first and not the interests determined by a larger corporation. Is your advisor fee-only, or merely fee-based? We believe that clients are best served with an advisor that is a true fiduciary.

#2: Are They Holistic?

A good financial advisor doesn’t just specialize in one area. Your financial planner should be able to assist you not with just investment management, but also things such as:

  • Risk Analysis
  • Estate Planning
  • Insurance Planning
  • Tax Management

If your financial advisor is a one-trick pony, it might be time to think about if you’re getting the best experience and value for your money.

#3: Are They Transparent?

To put it simply, if you ask your advisor: “How much am I paying for financial planning advice?” that answer should not take more than one sentence. If it does, you should be pretty concerned about that situation.

It is important for your financial advisor to have their fee structure, disclosures, and all important information very clearly presented to you. Any sort of wishy-washy behavior should have you questioning if you’re in the right relationship with your advisor.

In conclusion, Selecting a financial planner is a big decision. It’s your money, and you should feel comfortable about who is handling it. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re looking for a financial advisor in the Madison, WI area. We are happy to discuss whether your current advisor is a true fiduciary and how you make sure that you are receiving good value for the money you are paying your financial advisor(s).

– Walkner Condon Financial Advisors