20 Questions To Ask Your Financial Advisor

Choosing a financial advisor can be a daunting process. You’re looking for a professional to delegate the day-to-day management of your portfolio of assets. You want to feel secure knowing that the people and the company with whom you choose to partner reflect your values and are willing to take the time to understand you and your unique situation.

It is our hope in providing this guide that you’ll be able to navigate the very crowded field of financial advisors with confidence.

  1. What experience do you have?

At Prentice Financial Planning (PFP) employees have a combined work experience of 35 plus years in investment and planning services.

  • What are your qualifications?

Andrew Prentice is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional. This designation requires him to have a four-year college degree, pass a comprehensive exam, have at least three years of financial planning experience, agree to be bound by the CFP® board’s Standards of Professional Conduct and complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years including ethics.

  • Do you focus solely on investment management, or do you also advise on taxes, estates, retirement and insurance?

Prentice Financial Planning provides all of these services through our Advanced Financial Planning process. We strive to be your “Chief Financial Officer” to give you peace of mind to live your life.

  • Are you always a fiduciary, and will you state that in writing?

PFP is a fiduciary as stated in our Form ADV brochure which is provided to each client at least annually.

  • Does anybody else ever pay you to advise me and if so, do you earn more to recommend certain products or services?

At Prentice Financial Planning we are product agnostic. This means we do not base our decisions on what incentives may exist. We take the time to design a Prentice Playbook for you which is tailored to your specific situation and provides the details of how to implement your plan.

  • Do you participate in any sales contest or awards programs creating incentives to favor particular vendors?

We are a fee-only firm. We are paid for our services directly from our clients.

  • Will you itemize all your fees and expenses in writing?

At Prentice Financial Planning we believe in transparency. We list all our fees on our quarterly invoice which includes the specific calculation.

  • Are your fees negotiable?

We do not negotiate fees. We consistently deliver value to our clients in the form of attention to detail and an impeccable service standard.

  • How will our relationship work?

We invite our clients to review their Prentice Playbook with us annually. There are special circumstances which require additional meetings. We deliver the gold standard of client support. All communication is returned by the end of the business day, if possible and no later than the next business day.

  1. Can you tell me about your conflicts of interest either verbally or in writing?

All advisors will have some. These conflicts must be disclosed and discussed. The best place to look for these is in their firm’s Form ADV.

  1. Do you earn fees as an advisor to a private fund or other investments that you may recommend to clients?

No.

  1. Do you pay referral fees to generate new clients?

No. We are proud that most of our new clients are referrals from existing clients.

  1. Do you earn fees for referring clients to specialists like estate attorneys or insurance agents?

No.

  1. What is your investment philosophy?

The investment philosophy at Prentice Financial Planning utilizes five core tenets:

  1. Long-term investments
  2. Globally diversified portfolio
  3. Reduce fees as much as possible
  4. Reduce taxes as much as possible
  5. Emphasize behavioral coaching to reduce poor investment decisions.
  1. Do you attempt to time the market?

No. Our investment philosophy is focused on long-term investments.

  1. Do you believe you can “beat” the market?

No. Reducing the costs associated with investing as well as reducing taxes are essential components of our investment policy.

  1. How often do you trade?

As seldom as possible to reduce fees and taxes while still keeping your allocations aligned. Portfolios are reviewed monthly to make sure cash is at an appropriate level and quarterly to assess if a rebalance is necessary.

  1. What is a reasonable estimated return on my portfolio over the long term?

The estimated return changes depending on current market factors and risk levels. We use a building block approach to arrive at our long-term estimates. Any candidate for your financial planning business should be able to explain the basis and process of arriving at those returns.

  1. Who manages your money?

Prentice Financial Planning requires all employees to invest in the same models as our clients, ensuring that all decisions made affect our portfolios alongside our clients.

  • Have you ever been publicly disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your career?

No. You can check for any actions against potential advisors at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov and brokercheck.finra.org

While most people assume that advisors act in their best interest, it may be far from the truth – especially because not all the laws of the land require them to do so. These twenty questions will structure your conversation and help you make an informed decision about your financial planning partner.

Prentice Financial Planning is currently accepting new clients. Now that you’ve had an opportunity to review our answers, we invite you to tour our website and determine if our team is a candidate for your business.

We look forward to meeting with you.