Money isn't easy to come by and you want to make sure that anything you invest will be there when you need it. Since investing your savings can be complicated and time consuming, most people decide the best course of action is hiring an investment advisor.
What is An Investment Advisor?
When you meet with an investment advisor you are meeting with a person who takes a look at the market, listens to your long term financial goals, and considers the amount of money you can afford to invest. They use all this information and provide you with advice about investments that should help you make the maximum return on your money.
Questions You Need to Ask
When you decide it's in your best interest to use a professional to help you save for your future, you want to make sure you're using the best. Approach the initial meeting with the advisor with the same kind of attitude you would have if you were an employer conducting a job interview. Have a list of questions ready to go.
Be very blunt and ask exactly who will be overseeing your account. There have been stories of people who assumed one person was going to be handling things only to find out much later that the account was actually being handled by several different people. Make it very clear that you want to be able to communicated directly with anyone who has access to your account and is making investment decisions,
Find out how often the investment advisor in charge of your account will take the time to review your current portfolio. This should be something they plan on doing with a great deal of regularity. In addition to checking the portfolio and gauging the status of current investments, they should also get in touch with you each time to discuss any changes that have come up. A good investment firm will be diligent about communication and want to make sure you're up to date on how your investments have performed.
Make sure you ask exactly what the advisor feels their responsibilities will be. This is a very important question. Even firm has it's own policies regarding how hands on their advisors are. You need to know if the person you're considering working with will be making changes to your portfolio and overseeing all of the investments, or if they're acting in a purely advisory role. Once this question has been answered, you need to ask yourself if you're comfortable with the amount of involvement the advisor will have.
At some point you are going to have to find out how much the investment advisor's services will cost. This is another thing that tends to vary from one professional to another. It's up to you to decide if the fees seem reasonable and if you can afford them. The better the advisor's reputation is, the more they're going to charge.
The nice thing about asking about how much the investment advisor's fees will be is that it creates a nice segue into asking about fudicary responsibility.
If you're not happy with the answers you get to your questions, the best thing you can do is say a polite good-bye and look for a different investment advisor.
Good luck in your search for the best investment advisor!