There are plenty of reasons to decide it’s time to work with a financial advisor. Maybe you need help with retirement planning or wealth management. Maybe you need some investment advice or an investment strategy. Or maybe you just want some professional advice about your financial future or an accountability partner. A financial advisor can help with all of these things.
Knowing you need a professional on your team and actually becoming established with an advisor are two different things, though. You might feel a bit confused about how to get started or who to call, and that’s exactly what this article is about. We’ll walk you through the basic steps to start working with a financial advisor, as well as mention some of the key personal characteristics all great advisors should have.
Scheduling the First Meeting
You’re probably wondering how to schedule the very first meeting with a financial advisor. After all, you likely want to know the person who will be helping to manage your money. The first step is as simple as picking up the phone and calling their office or simply scheduling online. Every office will have their own twist on the intake process, but most financial advisors follow a similar path. Let’s look at the scheduling process for new clients here at Metanoia Financial.
Schedule a Consultation
The first step is to schedule a consultation with us, which you can do through our website. We’ll schedule a time to connect with you over the phone or on Zoom so we can get to know you and your situation a little better. Through some light conversation, we’ll get a sense of what your needs are and what you’re looking for in a financial advisor.
Choose a Day and Time
Next, we’ll schedule a virtual meeting with one of our advisors. Usually we schedule meetings one or two weeks ahead so our clients have time to fill out some information for us. This is on our pre-meeting questionnaire that we send via email.
Fill Out the Questionnaire
The questionnaire is meant to give us an idea of not only the person’s financial situation but also their personal goals and values.
The second part of our questionnaire is kind of like a balance sheet for your financial life. It outlines your assets and liabilities, different income streams, and some other basic financial information. This is also where you can mention which financial services you’re interested in if you have something specific in mind.
Meet the Advisor
We go through this detailed process so that by the time you meet with one of our advisors, they have a good idea of whether or not there’s a good fit between your needs and our services. We like to make sure that there’s the potential for a great relationship with all of our clients so we know we can meet their needs in the way they want.
With this in mind, don’t be surprised if your first meeting focuses very little on financial details and very much on your personal life and beliefs. At Metanoia Financial, we’re a faith-based firm that can help Christians take a Biblical approach to managing money. Ensuring our values align with your own helps us to serve you better and bring you greater long-term success.
The first meeting isn’t all about us, though. It’s your opportunity to explore our services and the professional skills of your potential new advisor.
Financial Services and Certifications
Odds are your new financial advisor doesn’t do just one thing. Most fiduciaries can handle anything from estate planning and tax planning to asset allocation and investment management. They can make all of your major financial decisions, offer helpful financial advice, or make an introduction to the right financial professional depending on your needs and comfort level.
Because the range of services is so diverse, it’s important to establish your needs and the services that address them.
All financial advisors are required to hold at least a bachelor’s degree. There are extra certifications they can achieve once they enter the professional world, though.
Some advisors, such as our own Bobby Cremins, will pursue a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certificate. This gives them license to perform financial planning for their clients. To achieve this certification, advisors must go through extra education training on both planning techniques and ethics, then pass an exam.
Another designation Bobby sought out was Certified Kingdom Advisor. This certification comes from Kingdom Advisors, a group of Christian financial planners who strive to bring “Biblically-wise counsel” to their clients.
He is also a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®), which designates his training to provide skillful investment analysis to his clients. To secure this designation, applicants must pass a three-part annual exam that tests knowledge of investment tool fundamentals, asset valuation, portfolio management, and wealth planning.
While certifications certainly don’t guarantee success, we believe they demonstrate our commitment to expertise and excellence. Advisors’ personality and soft skills can often play an equally important role in your relationship with them.
Attributes of a Great Advisor
Overall, you want an advisor you can connect with. Someone who you trust to act in your best interest but also who you aren’t afraid to ask questions and learn from. So before you hand over your personal finances to a professional, look for these four qualities in them.
You want an advisor who looks beyond your investment portfolio at the entire financial picture. They should have a comprehensive understanding of how to best approach your goals, diversify your efforts, and put you on the path to success. Their financial advice should never sound boiler plate or rehearsed. It should be tailored to your needs and your situation.
The last thing you want in your finances is to be reacting to a bad situation. Good advisors are monitoring your accounts and weighing their knowledge about outside factors to make sure you’re always on the right course.
Keep in mind, this doesn’t mean you’ll never take a loss. Dips in the market are normal and fluctuating account balances will happen.
A popular Dave Ramsey saying is that financial advisors should have “the heart of a teacher.” And it’s popular for a reason. When you seek out advisory services from a professional, it’s because you acknowledge that they have a better understanding of the industry than you do. But likely it’s also because you want to learn how to manage your money wisely.
A great financial advisor will be able to teach you about the strategies he’s implementing for you and why they’ll be beneficial. You should always leave their office or hang up the phone with a solid understanding of what’s going on with your accounts and why your advisor chose that course of action.
They Can Say “No”
This is the only trait of a good advisor that you might not like. As we mentioned in the last section, part of partnering with a financial professional is acknowledging they know more than you. The next part is accepting that sometimes, they might have to tell you “no.”
There might come times in your life when you want to make a major purchase or a significant investment. If it’s the right time and a positive strategic move, then your advisor will be there to help you navigate the investment. But if it’s not the right time or they aren’t confident in the investment, they need to be able to tell you no. This isn’t simply to be contrary. It’s to help protect your assets and hard earned money from potential risk.
When you find an advisor whom you trust, is knowledgeable, has a teacher’s heart, and can tell you no, then rest assured that you’ve found a great financial partner.
Find Your Advisor Today
At Metanoia Financial, we lead with our hearts and guide with our heads. We allow our faith to steer our advice and strive to help our clients manage their money in a way that aligns with their personal values. We love helping our clients find financial peace of mind by organizing and planning for their futures.
If you’d like help creating a plan for retirement, a strategy for investments, or just some financial advice every now and then, we’d love to meet with you. To learn more about getting started with a financial advisor, schedule your free consultation!