Top 4 Questions Most of Us Will Never Ask Our Financial Planner—But ShouldMarch 18 | Posted by writer | News, Opinion Tags: Guest Column
Guest Column by Charles Mayfield, CFP of Chappell, Mayfield & Associates
Atlanta, GA – the financial planners at Chappell, Mayfield & Associates, LLC, an independent financial planning and investment advisory firm, have each worked with Atlanta families and business owners for well over a decade. Today, they are pleased to be able to share some of the lessons that they have learned from the clients that they have served and the acquaintances that they have made throughout the years.
“For years we’ve heard and read of financial professionals helping with some of the top must-ask questions that individuals should address with their current or prospective financial planners,” says Cass Chappell, financial planner with Chappell, Mayfield. “What we’ve realized over the years is that, quite often, the most important questions are the ones never asked. The less than obvious questions.”
These questions should be asked in conjunction with the basic fees, education, career background and referral questions that most individuals do ask when speaking with a financial planner.
1) Reporting – whether these are quarterly or annually, it’s important to make sure that the information is presented to you in a manner that makes sense to you—verbal, in print or online. How often will you update me on my portfolio’s status? What do these reports entail? What do they look like? Will they require an in-person meeting to explain the data?
2) Levels of Service – for those who are unsure as to whether or not they are ready to begin the full-scale financial planning process, but do want to make sure that they are on the right track. What are the levels of service that you provide? Are there ways for me to start off small and grow into the financial planning process? Are larger or smaller accounts serviced any differently?
3) Fees – obviously financial planners are compensated for their services. Ask them to break their fee structure down for you. Don’t leave this to the fine print. How do you get paid? Do you receive commissions on any of the investments that you recommend? Will these fees change as my account grows?
4) Investment Vehicles – there are dozens of ways to construct a retirement portfolio and new investment products are constantly being introduced. Do you gravitate to one type of product or style? Are you limited in the types of investment products that you can manage? Will you change your investment style if you feel that there are new ideas and ways to improve performance?
The answers to some of these questions could be the deciding factor for a consumer seeking professional help from one advisor vs. another.
“We’ve found that many individuals are afraid to dig under the surface and ask the tough questions,” says Charles Mayfield, financial planner with Chappell, Mayfield. “They think that the advisor may feel annoyed or on the defensive. This couldn’t be further from the truth. This is your life’s work…your future. We would be remiss if we were not ready to answer any and all questions that our clients pose to us about our practices.”
The Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. also provides a list of basic questions that should also be addressed, and can be found on the Chappell, Mayfield website under “Financial Planning” or by clicking on the attached link: Top 10 Questions When Choosing A Financial Planner.
For more information on Chappell, Mayfield, or to speak to Cass Chappell or Charles Mayfield directly, please contact Melinda Staab at 760.295.8245 or by email: Melinda@PRLatitude.com.
Tags: Guest Column