Ten Reasons to Switch Your Financial Advisor

By:  Paul Horn, CFP®, CPWA®, Senior Financial Planner

We have all heard the break-up line, “It’s not you, it’s me”.  But as we all know, not all financial advisors are created equal and sometimes it is them. Breaking up is never fun, but sometimes it’s necessary. Here are ten reasons to switch your financial advisor:

1. Lack of communication

Many advisors can get complacent, and over time do not communicate with existing clients the way they did when they were new clients or are not responsive. If this happens, talk with your financial advisor. If their communication does not improve, then it may be time to find a new financial advisor.

2. Philosophy doesn’t match         

As humans, we tend to prefer to work with and spend time with those that share similar views. If your current financial advisor no longer matches your view of financial planning or investing philosophy, then it may be best to find a financial advisor that does align with your beliefs.

3. Poor relationship           

As humans, we crave good relationships with people. You must have a good relationship with your financial advisor. This doesn’t mean you have to be best friends, but they are someone you still must like and trust. You must feel that your financial advisor cares about you, your loved ones, and your goals.

4. Trust is eroding

This ties into the relationship as mentioned above. All relationships are built on trust. If there is no trust, then it is impossible to have a good relationship with your financial advisor

5. Your needs are getting more complex, but the advice is not changing                         

Many advisors offer investment management and financial planning. If you have needs like tax planning or complex financial needs (i.e., a business owner or executive), you need to work with someone that understands your needs and can service them (even if it means referring you to the right attorney or tax professional). The simple fact is over time your needs may outgrow what your financial advisor can offer.

6. They do not offer financial planning

These days quality investment management is becoming easier to find. What is difficult to find, is proper financial planning. This means they understand your complex financial goals and can help put a plan in place to help you achieve your financial goals.

7. Your financial advisor just calls to place trades

This is not a financial advisor but rather a stockbroker. They are just looking for commissions and do not understand your financial needs and may be looking out for their best interest instead of yours.

8. They are not a fiduciary

You only should work with financial advisors that are fiduciaries. This means the advisor legally functions under the “fiduciary standard” and must act in your best interest. Too many advisors in the industry are not fiduciaries, so they only have to recommend what is “suitable” or fall under a “best interest standard” which is more of a transactional relationship. This could create a conflict of interest, and you may be paying higher fees than you should be.

9. Your financial advisor is not fee-only

A fee-only financial advisor reduces potential conflicts of interest. For example, a financial advisor should not also sell life insurance, since they will make a nice commission for selling you a life insurance policy. A fee-only advisor will recommend life insurance if you truly need it and introduce you to someone else to sell you the policy. This way they are not making commissions and you know they are instead looking out for your best interests.

10. Your advisor cannot justify the fees you pay

Rarely does it make sense to pay a financial advisor more than 1% these days. Many financial advisors are still charging over 1% and not providing additional services. We believe you can find great financial advisors that provide financial planning and investment management for 1% or less.

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