Money money money money money …. Money!

When I first started contemplating retirement, one of biggest concerns was – where would the money come from to support my semi-lavish lifestyle. After a bunch of research, I decided that my needs and worries would best be met by a competent financial advisor and wealth manager. My keen engineering mind decided to approach the solution by developing a rating system using a graded set of questions I would ask each potential advisor. I graded each advisor on a 1-3-5 scale and gave a 1-10 importance to each of my questions. Some simple multiplication and addition provided a ranked list of advisors. I am quite happy with my choice and the results, so I thought that I would provide that list of questions to the thirsty masses. The exercise is left to the student, but do please feel free to ask questions.

Potential Advisor Questionnaire

  1. Fiduciary responsibility?
  2. How do you charge and how much?
  3. How do you make money?
  4. Licenses and credentials (#CFAs, #CFPs, #CPAs, etc)
  5. What services do you provide?
  6. What types of clients do you specialize in?
  7. Sample financial plan
  8. What is your investment approach?
  9. How much contact do you have with clients?
  10. Will I be working with you or with a team?
  11. How are you unique?
  12. How will I access my information?
  13. Where will my portfolio be held?
  14. How do you do research and learn what to invest in?
  15. How did you handle 2008?
  16. What is the past performance of your model portfolios
  17. How will you track and report performance net of fees?
  18. Do you sell anything?
  19. Number of Clients
  20. Number of clients that own a business
  21. Number with DB plans
  22. Amount under management
  23. Average client amount under management
  24. How long in business
  25. Advisor staff numbers and certifications (CFA, CFP, CPA, etc)
  26. Support staff numbers
  27. Tell me about the last client that you lost