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Five questions you should ask your financial adviser in your first meeting

By Kon Mavrikios
  • November 09 2020
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Invest

Five questions you should ask your financial adviser in your first meeting

By Kon Mavrikios
November 09 2020

It’s a common misconception that the time to seek financial advice is when you are approaching retirement. It’s never too early. Financially savvy families are increasingly turning to financial advisers to empower and educate them as they work towards their life goals. 

Five questions you should ask your financial adviser in your first meeting

Five questions you should ask your financial adviser in your first meeting

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By Kon Mavrikios
  • November 09 2020
  • Share

It’s a common misconception that the time to seek financial advice is when you are approaching retirement. It’s never too early. Financially savvy families are increasingly turning to financial advisers to empower and educate them as they work towards their life goals. 

Five questions you should ask your financial adviser in your first meeting

I’ve been working as a financial adviser at ANZ for more than 10 years and I know from experience that the key to a great first appointment is preparation. When you walk out of your first meeting, you should feel confident that you’ve taken the first steps towards your financial goals – whether that’s achieving financial freedom, the lifestyle or retirement you want or growing your nest egg. 

So, here are my top five questions to ask in your first appointment: 

  1. Research your adviser’s professional background

Even before you walk in the door, take some time to do some digging – whether that’s looking on your adviser’s website or LinkedIn profile. This is key because you want to work with an adviser who will prioritise you and your unique needs. 

Try to assess their depth of experience, expertise and skillset, to ensure that their background aligns with your financial goals and circumstances. Have they completed any relevant training that complies with FASEA (The Financial Adviser Standards and Ethics Authority)? Do they primarily work with a particular group of clients, such as retirees or business owners? Ensure that they are the right fit for you and your unique situation. Once you’ve done your research and you’re satisfied with their background, qualifications and experience you should go ahead and make that first appointment – otherwise keep looking! 

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  1. What’s your investment approach?

Take the time to listen to this answer – it’s important! Let your adviser explain their approach, their in-house investment philosophy, and their risk and asset allocation approach. After you leave, review their answers to ensure they align with your core values. For example, do you like to have some risk in your portfolio? Are you passionate about ethical investing? To avoid disappointment or frustration later on it’s important that your financial adviser’s approach to investment lines up with your core values, while still working towards your goals.

  1. How do you measure success for clients?

This question will help you understand whether your adviser is committed to helping you achieve your life goals and improve your financial wellbeing. You can also ask whether they are assessed on customer satisfaction or sales figures. Do they receive a commission for recommending their own products or do they listen to your needs? These questions will help you understand whether the adviser will develop a plan as unique as you are to build your wealth. 

  1. How will you navigate volatile markets?

To say that 2020 has been a stressful year would be an understatement; however, market downturns are a normal part of investing. In times like this, it’s very easy to make costly mistakes and snap decisions. Your financial adviser should bring an objective view and be capable of helping you steer through volatile markets to help you meet your financial goals. 

  1. What’s your fee structure?

Financial advisers are there for the long haul, so it should be clear from the get-go how they structure their fees. For example, do they charge hourly, fixed fees, or on the complexity of the advice strategies? There are many options to choose from and there could also be tax benefits. So, make sure you ask this question upfront to avoid any confusion or misunderstanding down the line. It’s also important for the adviser to understand your financial situation so they can work towards your goals. 

By asking these five questions, when you walk out of your initial meeting, you should have a good sense of whether the financial adviser is the right fit for you. It’s important to find the right partner and be confident in your decision, so don’t be afraid to seek a second opinion. At ANZ, our financial advisers take time to get to know you, and we’re assessed on customer satisfaction, not sales.

Kon Mavrikios is an ANZ senior financial adviser.

Five questions you should ask your financial adviser in your first meeting
Five questions you should ask your financial adviser in your first meeting
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