“I’m not always sure about my advisor’s values,” she said.
My face must have registered my surprise, because she quickly added, “I guess that doesn’t sound very good, does it?”
No, it sure doesn’t. This conversation took place at a recent luncheon held by a community philanthropic organization. The event was focused on the impact on charitable giving as a result of the recent tax overhaul. We hadn’t shared more than three or four sentences with each other before that confession came tumbling out.
Money and Values
There’s a well-known quote that comes to mind, courtesy of Elvis, “”Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ’em all over everything you do.”
Money and values are closely related. The decisions we make about our finances and the emotions we feel about money are influenced by our values. Think about the organizations or people to whom you give money, time and support. They are the organizations that value the same things and the same goals that you value.
Your financial advisor, the person that you trust to act in your best interest and help you accomplish your financial goals, should know your values and have your values in mind when making recommendations to you. Our job is to understand and support the financial needs, goals, and aspirations of our clients. We can’t possibly provide solid advice that is in the best interests of the client if we don’t know what they value.
That doesn’t mean that we have to have the exact same set of values or that we have to support the same organizations, but we should certainly understand the values our clients hold.
If you’re questioning your advisor’s values or if you’re wondering whether the advice you’re getting reflects your values or your advisor’s, you’re overdue for a direct, honest conversation. Not sure where to start? Here are some good questions to ask to learn more about your advisor:
- What is the best part of your job? Why do you do what you do for a living?
- Are you flexible in the investment strategies you use? To what extent can we customize my portfolio so I’m invested in the companies that line up with what matters to me?
- Are you compensated differently for recommending different products? Are you paid by fees or commissions? How will I know how much you earn from working with me?
- Are you a fiduciary?
- Can you describe your typical or average client? Do you have a niche or a specialty?
- How long do you typically work with clients? Are your client relationships short-term in nature or long-term?
- What is the best thing about working with you as an advisor?
Having meaningful conversations about the things that matter to you and to your advisor will help build a trusting, long-term, collaborative relationship. You’ll feel more confident that the advice you’re receiving is truly in your best interest!
Andrea Blackwelder is a Certified Financial Planner ™ Practitioner and the co-founder of Wisdom Wealth Strategies, a fee-based financial planning and investment advisory practice. Andrea looks at your complex financial planning puzzle and assists you with the best options and financial strategies that align with your financial needs. To contact Andrea, email firstname.lastname@example.org.