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New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Financial Advisor

The beginning of a New Year is the best time to establish your investment strategy for the year. If you work with a financial advisor, it’s important that you are both on the same page, so this is a great time to see if your resolutions are aligned.

If you are the client of a Financial Planner or are looking to hire one, the first and most important step is to set a resolution to Get a Plan. That means establishing your financial objectives, deciding where you want to end up and how much you can comfortably contribute to your plan on a regular basis along the way.

If you are a financial advisor, it’s integral that your resolution includes putting together workable plans for your clients based on their plans and objectives. You’ll want to remind your clients that as their income increases they may want to contribute more in order to reach their goals ahead of time and with greater assets than they originally thought was achievable.

Next, as a client, you’ll want to be on the lookout for financial advisors who are suggesting financial products proprietary to their firms. Avoid these advisors at all costs. And they will cost you because they get commissions for promoting and selling their firm’s products. One way to avoid this is to look for an independent financial advisor. An advisor who is not affiliated with a particular firm or fund is going to have access to all products and will select only those that best serve your needs.

As a financial advisor you know that when working with a particular firm your primary job is to sell the products affiliated with that firm. You get paid commissions on those products. If you’re really good at what you do and are looking to serve the needs of clients, become an Independent Financial Advisor. Today, clients are savvy and will seek the services of good independent advisors with exceptional track records over those advisors simply pushing a specific product.

Thirdly, as a client, it is your business to know what the fees are associated with your investments and with working with your advisor. Additionally you must be honest with your advisor and make sure you understand the investments your advisor is suggesting for you. Don’t say you understand if you don’t. A good advisor will explain everything until it is understood.  And, you should have a strategy that you arrive at with your advisor for achieving your financial goals within a specific time frame. Your advisor needs to be held accountable if you are not meeting your goals.

As a financial advisor, you want to make sure your clients are clear about their fees. It’s your job to explain the specific investments, work with your clients to establish an achievable financial strategy and explain the investments.

And, last but not least, whenever you can, increase your savings in order to achieve your financial goals within your desired time frame or sooner. Your advisor should reassess savings amounts from time to time throughout the year in order to make sure you are on target.

It’s a new year and whether you are looking for a financial advisor for the first time, reassessing the one you’re working with or looking to work with someone new, be sure to speak with current customers and get as much information as you can before making a commitment. May you have a prosperous New Year.

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Guest Saturday, 16 December 2017