A friend of mine recently broke up with her hair stylist.

She was always happy with the cut and colour itself. But, my friend is exceptionally introverted. She prefers silence over small talk. Interacting closely with people for extended periods of time drains her. Her stylist, on the other hand, is an Extrovert with a capital “E”.

She told him she preferred not to talk. She told him that for her, silence was as golden as the gorgeous highlights he did for her.

But asking him to cut the chatter went against his nature. He always tried – but he couldn’t help himself. Inevitably he’d end up talking her ear off and roping her into conversation.

It wasn’t his fault any more than it was hers. It just wasn’t a good fit.

So she found a stylist who can do a fabulous blonde and loves silence as much as she does.

Finding professionals who are a good fit on every level is important – and this includes your financial planner. After all, your financial planner will be privy to big life moments, will help guide you through life decisions, and will help shape your future. There’s more at stake than a brassy blonde.

How do you find a financial planner that is right for you?

Here are some things to consider before you work with a financial planner:

How do you prefer to communicate?

Recently, on an intake call, a potential client asked me: “Are you an email or a phone person?”

She explained that she had an exceptionally busy job and a hectic home life, and she needed things written down or she didn’t have a hope of remembering them.

She preferred to communicate via email, and if a phone call was necessary, she preferred to be sent a written summary.

I get that.

Other clients of mine prefer that I call them first. Some like communication more often. Others prefer that we touch base for our annual reviews, and reach out to me if something comes up beforehand.

When you interview a potential financial planner, consider:

  • Do you prefer email or phone communication?
  • How often do you want updates?
  • How often do you expect to meet?

How is your financial planner paid?

Understanding the compensation structure up front is important. Will your financial planner be paid through the cost of products, a percentage of assets they manage, and/or on an hourly/set-fee basis? Depending on your needs and goals, certain structures may make more sense for you.

How involved do you want to be in decisions?  

What do you want the most guidance with, and what would you prefer to handle yourself?

You may prefer a financial planner you can work with to develop a plan that you then execute yourself. If you have the knowledge, time, and confidence to execute it yourself, a financial planner who constantly checks in or offers suggestions may not work for you.

If you prefer a financial planner who can build and execute your financial plan with you, what types of decisions do you want to be consulted on before you make your choice, and how do you want to be consulted?

How often do you want to meet to go over your goals and expectations?

When you make decisions, do you want a full run down of the scenarios and their outcomes, or do you prefer your financial planner simply make a singular recommendation?

How will your financial planner consider your values?

Every financial planner will go through your “risk profile” with you, to determine what level of risk you are comfortable with investing at.

And all Certified Financial Planners must follow a written code of ethics that explicitly states that their clients’ interests must come before their own – always.

But how will your financial planner get to know your values, as well as your numerical goals? I find this to be an exceptionally important component to my relationship with my clients. If I understand the values that underpin a goal, I can make much better suggestions.

For example, a client of mine had a goal to buy a rental property. Because of our in-depth intake process, we understood that this goal was motivated by a bout of homelessness as a teen – she did not just want to make as much income as possible from an investment property. She wanted to create a gorgeous home for someone who was struggling.

To help her accomplish this, we built in added protections in her plan to account for potential challenges with this: the property sitting vacant to find the particular type of tenant she aimed to help, increased potential for damages, a larger budget for renovations (more than might be “recommended” for a standard income property).

Finding the right Certified Financial Planner for you is about more than checking credentials, getting references, and reading reviews (although you should do that too!) It is equally as important to find someone who is the right fit for you as an individual.

I don’t work with everyone who reaches out to me. If we won’t be a good fit, I will tell you after our first meeting – because it doesn’t benefit either of us to work together unless we can truly accomplish your goals together.

Book a call to see if I am the best fit for you.