The following first appeared on Kiplinger’s as 3 Things You Should Always Ask a Financial Adviser.
Your choice of financial adviser might be the single most important decision you ever make, short of your spouse or maybe your doctor.
While you might not be putting your life in his or her hands, per se, you’re certainly putting your financial future at risk. A good adviser can help you protect the savings you’ve spent a lifetime building, and – with good planning and maybe a little luck from a healthy stock market – grow it into a proper nest egg.
But how do you choose?
Let’s take a look at some traits you’ll want to look for, as well as three questions you’ll want to ask any prospective candidate.
What you want in a financial adviser
An older adviser with a little gray in their hair might instinctively seem safer, but ideally you don’t want an adviser that will kick the bucket before you do. However, going with a younger adviser introduces greater uncertainty as they will generally have a shorter track record.
Likewise, educational pedigree matters … but not as much as you might think. You can assume that an adviser with an Ivy League degree is highly intelligent and motivated, and those are qualities you want to see. But these same characteristics can make for lousy investment returns if they mean the adviser is overconfident. Investing is a game in which discipline, patience and humility generally matter more than raw brains and ambition.
As Warren Buffett famously said, “Investing is not a game where the guy with the 160 IQ beats the guy with the 130 IQ.”
Yes, you want your adviser to be smart. But don’t be overly swayed by fancy degrees.
To finish reading the article, please see 3 Things You Should Always Ask a Financial Adviser.