There are numerous questions you can and should ask a planner before engaging them. Your goals from asking these questions should be to determine the planner’s competency, your degree of connection with them, and to understand any potential conflicts of interest the planner may have.
Following are the questions I recommend you ask. You can see my answers to them at here. Following these questions are two additional documents you can download. These are provided by NAPFA and give you some additional questions you may wish to ask, along with perspective on the answers you may receive.
- Why did you become a financial planner?
- What did you do before you were a financial planner?
- What are your financial planning credentials/designations and affiliations?
- What are your areas of specialty?
- Please describe your most common engagement / service provided? And the type of client or client situation you target?
- Are you a registered representative of any broker/dealer?
- Are you a licensed insurance agent with any company or agency?
- Are you a registered investment advisor?
- Are you a fiduciary?
- How are you compensated?
- Do you have minimums for assets, account size, annual fees paid, etc? And what is your typical fee or charge for an initial engagement?
- Do you provide a written agreement detailing the total amount of compensation and services that will be provided in advance of an engagement?
- Do you provide a thorough written analysis of one’s financial situation and recommendations?
- Do you offer assistance with implementation with the plan? Please elaborate.
- Will you provide a second opinion or one time review?