Assemble a Team

You may have already discovered the importance of working with a financial professional. As you move through the various stages of your life, remember that your financial professional is a valuable resource. But as your life changes, your goals may also change, which could trigger the need to reassess your choice of financial professional.

An increasing number of women are taking a more active role with their finances. To continue to capitalize on potential opportunities in the market, it’s important to proactively take even greater charge of your financial future. With this in mind, be sure you’re comfortable with the support you receive from your financial professional.

As your needs change, it may be necessary to identify a new financial professional to help you through your various life stages. Consider the following questions when interviewing a potential financial professional to see if he or she is a good fit given your individual needs.

Questions to Ask a Prospective Financial Professional

  • Does he or she come highly recommended? Ask for at least five references—three from current clients and two from professionals.
  • What is his or her financial philosophy and approach to investing?
  • Is he or she part of a team? If so, does he or she work with specialists covering different financial areas (e.g., retirement, college funding, estate planning, etc.)?
  • What are his or her qualifications?
  • Does he or she have the experience to serve as the coordinator for your entire financial team (i.e., your accountant, legal and tax advisors, etc.)?
  • What services and products does he or she offer?
  • How accessible is he or she? How often can you expect to meet with him or her? Quarterly, bi-annually, annually? Would this be in person, over the phone, via email, by text?
  • What are the costs and fees associated with working with their advice and ongoing assistance?
  • How is he or she paid? Is he or she compensated on a fee-only basis or by brokerage commissions, or both?

Action Steps

Remember, it's important to be completely comfortable with your financial professional. If your needs or individual circumstances change, you may need to identify a new financial professional. A good starting point could be getting names of potential candidates from friends and family. When you have narrowed down your choice, take the time to do a formal background check. This is easily done by logging onto finra.org and clicking on FINRA Broker Check. You will learn about the professional background, registration/license status, and disciplinary history of the firm and the financial professionals with whom you’re considering.