THE FIRST STEP
his accounts. When we liquidated his holdings at the other firm, he discovered that one of his poorest performing assets was a Unit Investment Trust—an investment he didn’t even know he owned! His advisor had purchased it using discretionary power while the man was out of the country.
Although this isn’t a complete list of questions, these are the most important. If you find yourself in doubt about switching, trust your gut feeling. That will be your best guide.
A WORD ABOUT FEES
There’s an old saying that goes, “It takes money to make money.” In other words, in order to make some money, you need to be willing to spend some money. I have had many people come into my office and ask my advice. While I am more than willing to help my clients and potential clients, I find it troubling that many people expect financial advice for free. Financial advisors, myself included, charge a fee for the services we provide. However, I have encountered people who are adverse to paying any type of fee for financial planning. They would rather have the advice up front for free. Would you go to your doctor or dentist, ask them what needs to be done, and then expect not to pay? Of course not. Financial planners are professionals just as doctors and lawyers are. There is a fee for service.
That being said, if you find that you are fee-adverse, think about it this way. Many financial advisors charge their planning or retainer fees on an account-balance basis. For example, let’s assume that Mike Advisor, CFP™ charges a one-percent retainer fee to his clients. He bases the fee on their account balances. You, his client, have an account balance of $875,000. The annual retainer fee you would pay is $8750. As your account balance goes up, so does his fee. But, if your account balance were to decrease, his fee would also. Therefore, the more money you make, the more money your advisor makes. It’s really a win-win situation for both of you because your advisor is going to want to see your account balance increase. He’s going to do everything he can to see that you make more money. And what’s wrong with that? What you don’t want to see is your fee being increased while your account balance is decreasing.