By Michael Gold, CFP®, MBA Founder & CEO – Wealth Advisor
Your financial future is complex. How will you organize your financial life to ensure you have the appropriate plan to fund your retirement, send your kids to college, plan your estate and still live well now?
Another question to likely cross your mind is, “How do I go about selecting and hiring a financial advisor?” This article will cover some of the fundamental questions you should consider when deciding who to work with a financial advisor (also called a financial planner or wealth advisor). We will also cover some best practices to keep in mind to help you derive the most value from the relationship.
The Role Of An Advisor
A 2019 CNBC study found that 75% of Americans were not enlisting the help of a financial professional. If you’ve read this far, you likely already know that you’re not looking to go at it alone, but many people don’t always know what specific role an advisor will play on their team.
I like to think of a financial advisor as a strategist. Rather than telling you where to put your money, a strong financial/wealth advisor coaches you to see your own goals in a way that helps you to feel more confident about the decisions you make. From that vantage point, there are some guidelines to consider.
Many people think a financial or wealth advisors’ job is simply choosing funds, building an asset allocation and perhaps security selection. Although these are very important aspects of your financial plan, the scope of financial advice and guidance must span much further than that.
Wealth Advisors need to be able to excel and execute on not just money management, but also, protection planning, helping you generate income or cash-flow so you don’t outlive your money in retirement, mitigating your taxes through effective tax planning and managing the debt side of your balance sheet. They must provide all these complex areas of your financial life and help integrate them into a cohesive financial plan so that you can pursue your goals.
Table Stakes for Your Financial Advisor
- Money manager selection
- Asset allocation
- Cash flow planning
- Debt strategy
- Tax coaching
- Income generation planning
- Insurance planning
- Security selection
Pursuing your goals
What do you most value and what do you want to accomplish during your lifetime? Do you believe you will need to earn more in order to create sufficient post-retirement income? Are you concerned about tax liability?
Are you financially savvy or do you feel like you will need help becoming better informed? Do you have a clear picture of what you want retirement to look like or is this an area where a professional might help?
The more clearly you can answer these questions, the better you will be able to assess how well a given advisor fits your needs. They need to understand what is important to you and point out important elements that you may not have sufficiently considered.
That is why the process we implement at Gold Family Wealth, LLC always begins with an in-depth exploration of our client’s ultimate goals, their ideal vision and their values. The conversation starts with you – your retirement, your legacy, your wealth plan – and every journey is unique.
Your Wealth Advisor must be crystal clear in identifying and understanding your goals and why you want to pursue them. Many times, I’ve found the families I serve want to ensure their retirement is well-funded and/or they can comfortably afford a proper education for their children or grandchildren and/or that their heirs and charities are provided for.
They are looking for the confidence and freedom that comes from having these goals organized and plans in place. Think about how much time this level of confidence would save you. Imagine you had this handled and you didn’t have to start working on your own complex financial planning late in the evenings when you’re exhausted from the day.
Financial health is a vital part of the picture of personal fulfillment, your ideal financial advisor should know and respect that.
Getting your money managed frees you up to pursue your goals. Meeting these goals gives you financial confidence, which is a vital part of personal fulfillment. The steps of this process build on each other so that a solid wealth advisor doesn’t just contribute to your financial health, but your emotional and psychological wholeness as well.
Background And Experience
While the basics never change, the right advisor needs to bring experience in handling scenarios reasonably similar to yours. For example, a financial advisor who has worked predominantly with salaried employees may not be the best fit for the owner of multiple businesses with a complex estate.
When potentially hiring a financial advisor, you should try to get a feel for their specific experience as it relates to what you need right now. Also, think about any specialized needs you might have, such as medical conditions that may have a long-range impact.
Phase Of Life
Different seasons come with different requirements and priorities. The financial priorities of a young professional two years out of college differ from those of a newlywed couple, the parents of teenagers or an empty nester.
Depending on how close you are to retirement, the strategies and options available will differ considerably. When hiring a financial advisor, you will want to get a feel for their experience working with individuals at your current stage.
Get Started Today
A financial planner will guide some of the most important decisions you’ll ever make. We at Gold Family Wealth would love to be that guide on your financial journey. If you’d like to discuss the possibility of working with us, please get in touch to set up an appointment.
Michael Gold is the Founder and CEO, Wealth Advisor of Gold Family Wealth, an independent wealth management boutique and named one of the Top 100 People in Finance. Michael has 20 years of experience in the financial industry and has a bachelor’s degree in business and economics from the State University of New York College at Oneonta, an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business, specializing in Quantitative Finance and Leadership and his CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) credential. He serves business owners and entrepreneurs by stress-testing their financial plan to identify red flags and missed opportunities. Michael strategically outsources professionals from various fields, such as tax, insurance, retirement and trust and estate law to collaborate on potential solutions to help position his clients to pursue their desired goals.
Michael currently lives in Westport, CT. When he is not working, you can find him spending time with his wife, Giselle, their three children, Sebastian, Aria, and Pierce, and their dog, Charly. To learn more about Michael, connect with him on LinkedIn.
Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Gold Family Wealth, LLC), or any non-investment related content made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Gold Family Wealth, LLC. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Gold Family Wealth, LLC is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the Gold Family Wealth, LLC’s current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available upon request. If you are a Gold Family Wealth, LLC client, please remember to contact Gold Family Wealth, LLC, in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/revising our previous recommendations and/or services.
Investment advisory services offered through CWM, LLC, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Carson Partners, a division of CWM, LLC, is a nationwide partnership of advisors.
“Top 100 Magazine selections are made utilizing proprietary software, which employs an algorithm to search a variety of online resources for industry-specific terms and key words. These resources include social media, blog posts, peer reviews, and Google indices. In addition, wealth managers must also meet the following criteria: 1. Registered with the SEC as a registered investment adviser or a registered investment adviser representative; 2. Not more than 1 filed complaint and never been convicted of a felony. Listing in this publication and/or award is not a guarantee of future investment success. This recognition should not be construed as an endorsement of the advisor by any client.”