How to Find a Financial Advisor Who Adds a Personal Touch
Your Money is About More Than Dollars and CentsKathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA Wednesday, 30 December 2020
The following article is based on the content covered in my book, Flourish Financially: Values, Transitions, and Big Conversations. If you’d like to read more, you may purchase a copy here.
When considering how to find a financial advisor, there are various methods people employ. However, I recommend finding someone who adds a personal touch to their work. After all, money is about much more than dollars and cents. It’s about our family, it’s about our first experiences with money, it’s about our life values, and it’s about the conversations we do or do not have with the people who influence our saving, investing, sharing, and spending. These conversations are key, but they don’t always turn into “big conversations” because money remains a taboo subject.
I’ve always believed that my job as a financial advisor is to help my clients to have these conversations so they can make the best financial decisions – ones that align with their goals and their values. This means getting to know my clients and how they think about money, both individually and as a couple.
If you want to develop a financial plan that goes beyond dollars and cents, and fits your personal needs and wants, the following steps offer guidance on how to find a financial advisor who will provide a personal touch.
Step 1: Look for a Financial Advisor Who Addresses Your Goals and Values
Arguably the most important (and, perhaps, the most overlooked) part of the financial planning process is the method by which defined goals are brought into focus. A clear path for achieving goals should be set, values should be discussed during that conversation, and a plan should be put into place to follow that path. After all, there is so much more to financial management than a return on investment (ROI). You must consider how your decisions will affect your lifestyle, your family’s future, and your relationship with your spouse. There is an emotional and lifestyle component to financial management that cannot be overlooked in favor of a pure ROI approach. Holistic, goals-based financial planning requires that your goals and values align. It also requires a keen understanding of the implications that taxes, Social Security, portfolio rebalancing, and asset allocation can have on your long-term plans and goals.
SEE ALSO: Identifying and Building Your Ideal Retirement Lifestyle
Step 2: Identify an Advisor Who is Focused on Supporting You
It’s human nature to react when we are scared, excited, or moved by an experience. This creates the tendency to react quickly or overreact when there are disruptions – both large and small – in the financial markets. Having a relationship built on trust with a fiduciary whose expertise is rooted in not reacting emotionally to market shifts can help you stay on track with your investment goals through good times and bad.
Step 3: Find an Advisor Who Understands Transitions and How They Affect Financial Decisions
A trusted financial advisor harbors the practical expertise and the strategic partnerships necessary to facilitate smooth transitions during difficult life situations, including divorce or the death of a spouse. This professional should have the education and resources available to evaluate and decide between different choices with quantitative and qualitative outcomes – and an ability to explain the consequences of various choices to you.
Step 4: Commit to Finding a Fiduciary
Fiduciaries commit to putting their clients’ best interests first at all times. They operate under a code of ethics that doesn’t apply to advisors who are not fiduciaries. Fiduciary advisors fully disclose how they are compensated and flag any conflict, or potential conflict, that might prevent them from working with a client. The National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) is the country’s leading professional association of fee-only financial advisors – highly trained professionals who are committed to working in the best interests of those they serve. Their website offers a helpful tool to search for planners who meet this requirement.
SEE ALSO: Families and Finances: Communication is Key
Final Thoughts on How to Find a Financial Advisor Who Adds a Personal Touch
Financial planning is different for every person. It changes based on who you are, your goals, your financial knowledge and resources, and your history and values. That’s why it’s so important to find a financial advisor who adds a personal touch.
At Flourish Wealth Management, we use our tools and resources to create a holistic experience for each and every client. We create a neutral, comfortable space where our clients feel safe having tough conversations about money. We help everyone in the room find their voice and facilitate conversations that bring everyone together so we can provide an outcome that suits the needs, matches the values, and achieves the goals of all our clients. If you’d like to begin a conversation about your financial plan, please contact us today.
For more content like this, I invite you to consider purchasing my book, Flourish Financially: Values, Transitions, and Big Conversations. You may do so here.
About the Author
Kathy Longo, CFP®, CAP®, CDFA
Kathy Longo brings over 25 years of expertise and experience to Flourish Wealth Management. Kathy is wholly dedicated to improving the life of each client and finds joy in making complex matters simple and easy to understand. She excels at asking the right questions, uncovering new possibilities and implementing the most advantageous strategies for success. Playing such a pivotal role in her clients’ lives remains an honor and a privilege. After earning a degree in Financial Planning and Counseling from Purdue University, she began her career at a small firm in Palatine, Illinois where she worked directly with clients while learning to build a viable, client-centric business. Over the years, she gained extensive knowledge and wisdom working as a wealth manager, financial planner, firm manager and business owner at notable, various sized companies in both Chicago and Minneapolis.