We strive to keep up-to-date with client portfolios throughout the year, which involves making the effort to discover changing priorities, goals, and any potential financial concerns. Ideally, this conversation is a two-way street and we encourage our clients to ask questions as well. The next time you meet with your advisor, use this financial advisor checklist to help facilitate these conversations.
Before Visiting An Advisor
THINK AHEAD & PREPARE
What are your goals?
- Short-term (eg. buying a car)
- Long-term (eg. retirement, children’s education, weddings)
- Combination of both
Do you have all your financial numbers handy?
- Debt (including mortgage(s), LOC(s), credit cards, etc)
- RRSPs & RESPs
- Other investments
Boys Financial Services offers a standard checklist of essential financial documents to provide during the discovery process. This helps ensure that we have enough of an understanding of all of our client’s wants, goals & dreams, to enable us to make fully informed recommendations that best fit them, their families’ and their business’ needs. Also to help them accumulate wealth, and to manage and protect that wealth on an on-going basis.
Visiting An Advisor
Be prepared to talk frankly with your advisor about:
- All of your debts
- Strategies to pay down your debt should you come into any money
- Risks involved in using loans for investing (another debt to repay, with the added requirement of putting up collateral like your home or other assets)
- Ask about potential investment opportunities
- Understand how investments can make or lose money
- Discuss how much money you are willing to lose in the short or long term
- Personally review the paperwork to make sure that your risk tolerance is recorded accurately
- Understand that past performance of returns are no indication of future performance
- Be skeptical of someone who promises you specific returns (financial goals are unpredictable; if something seems too good to be true, it probably is!)
- Ask your advisor to explain exactly how much you will be required to pay for their services
- Ask your advisor how much you will be required to pay every time you buy/sell stocks, bonds, or other investment products
- If you are buying mutual funds, ask your advisor how much you will have to pay for management fees (called, “management expense ratio”) every year on all your assets
- Ask your advisor to translate the “management expense ratio” into dollars and cents (not a percentage amount)
- Ask your advisor about any additional costs or commissions
THE FINE PRINT
- Get fees and any other costs/commissions in writing before you hand over your money
- Ask your advisor to walk you through the fine print
REGISTRATION / QUALIFICATIONS
- Ask your advisor to explain their qualifications
- Ask your advisor if they are licensed to sell the products that you’re buying
- If your advisor sells mutual funds, check the Mutual Fund Dealers Association to see if they are listed as a licensed provider
- If the advisor sells stocks/equities, check the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada to see if they are listed as a licensed provider
- Your advisor should encourage you to take time to consider your options
- Take your time — don’t make a decision if you aren’t comfortable. You can always schedule a follow-up appointment.
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