5 questions you need to ask your financial planning consultant

5 questions you need to ask your financial planning consultant

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So you’ve reached that stage in your life where you could do with some extra financial planning support. You’ve listened to the recommendations of friends and family. You’ve carried out extensive online research and you’ve narrowed down your options when it comes to finding a financial planning consultant.

Now, all that’s left to do is to have that all-important first meeting. So what do you need to ask? Here are five key questions to ask your prospective new financial planner.

Meeting your financial planner for the first time is a useful fact-finding opportunity. This is your chance to glean everything you need to know about your financial planning consultant. It’s useful to come armed with some questions so that you come away fully informed and satisfied.

After all, you want to be certain that your financial planner is not skilled at what they do, but also that they’re a good fit with your personality. So much of financial planning is based around trust. When you’re discussing your most private financial details it’s critical to have a high level of faith in your chosen financial planner.

What to ask your financial planner

So what questions should you ask your financial planning consultant? You may have one or two in mind. Or perhaps you’re scratching your head trying to think of questions. Either way, we have five definitive questions that you can bring to the table to get the most out of your first meeting together.

Remember too that if you’re not completely satisfied with the answers you receive, or you don’t feel like you click with your financial planning consultant, don’t be afraid to look elsewhere for a better fit.

1. What are your fees?

First and foremost, you’ll want to know how much your financial planning consultant charges. As with any service, it’s important to know what the costs are likely to be before you sign on the dotted line.

It’s worth bearing in mind that financial planners tend to charge differently. Some may charge by the hour, while others may work on a flat rate. Your financial planning consultant should be able to give you a copy of their fee structure, as well as an estimate based on the type of advice you require.

2. Can you tell me about your qualifications?

You should then get to know more about your financial planner and their skill set. Most financial planners will have basic certification in financial planning. But it’s a good idea to find someone with a diploma or advanced diploma because this demonstrates a deeper knowledge of the subject.

You may also like to ask if they have any additional qualifications over and above the minimum. Certain areas like equity release and mortgages require separate qualifications. So if you need specialised advice, it’s a good idea to find a financial planner that has the relevant qualifications and experience in those specific areas.

3. How will we work together?

It’s a good idea to understand how your financial planner will work with you. Try to get a gauge for their processes. How do they plan to communicate with you? How often and how much access will you have to them? Often, these types of arrangements can be built around you.

But it’s a good idea to understand exactly how they work and what options are available to you. In the post-pandemic era, most financial planners should be willing to meet virtually. Find out which channels they will use and how often you’re likely to meet, as well as how frequently they’ll keep you updated about your finances.

4. Do you have other clients like me?

You may also like to ask your financial planning consultant or independent financial adviser if they have any clients in a similar financial situation to you. For example, some financial advisors only deal with clients in a particular pay bracket. If they’re predominantly experienced with dealing with high-net-worth individuals, they may not be able to provide the right type of tailored advice for your specific circumstances.

Therefore, it’s worth doing some probing at this stage to find out if they have any similar clients to you. This will ultimately ensure that they’re able to provide tailored advice that suits you and your needs.

5. Do you have any online reviews I can read?

Finally, you might like to ask your financial planner if they have any online reviews that you can look at. There are several major online platforms nowadays that provide authenticated reviews of financial planners. VouchedFor and Unbiased are two of the biggest. So you might like to visit either of these as a first port of call.

Of course, these aren’t the be-all and end-all, but they are a good indicator that your financial planner is at the top of their game, has plenty of satisfied clients, and goes the extra mile. Simply by registering for these sites shows that your financial planner is committed to building a high level of trust with their clients.

For more information about our financial planning services, or to speak to one of our financial planning consultants directly, please contact Acumen today by calling 0151 520 4353 or email us at info@acumenfinancial.co.uk.

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