1. Ethics. People often ask, “are you a fiduciary?” With the assumption that if the answer is yes, the advisor will always do the right thing. Bernie Madoff was held to a fiduciary standard, and he didn’t. You should feel like you are working with someone who will always do the right thing, even when it isn’t the most profitable. You cannot regulate morality – it’s an intrinsic value. Either your advisor has integrity or does not, regardless of how they get paid or what standard they are held to.
2. Focus on income creation. The whole point of saving money is to create an income whenever you are ready to quit your job. Most advisors are only concerned with the rate of return and growing your net worth. While that is important, income is even more so. It takes income to replace your current paycheck. A retirement income professional can often help you create more income from less assets, specifically because they are focused on optimizing the income strategy. This can mean an earlier retirement.
3. Communication. Your advisor should be doing more than investing your money. They should be helping you build a life of intentional design. The more you can communicate about your hopes and dreams, the better the advisor can help you create them. It’s not money for the sake of money. It’s money as a tool to create a life you are excited about. If your advisor doesn’t know what you want in your life, how can they help you build it?
4. Evidence-based planning. Everyone has an opinion about how and where you should invest. Should you pay off your mortgage? Some advisors say yes, others say no. Should you buy term insurance or permanent insurance? Some advisors say yes, some say no. Your advisor should be able to map out your options with the data so you can see the results of either choice. That way you can make your choices based off of the facts, rather than someone’s opinion. Your advisor should act more as a consultant and less as a salesperson.
5. Transparency. Your advisor should be willing to share exactly how much they are being paid and their fees or commissions. You should be excited about every penny you are paying them. If you aren’t, then you don’t feel that the value they are providing is worth the cost. That is a clear sign that you have the wrong advisor. I want my clients to feel I am worth every penny they are paying me. It’s part of how I know we have built the right plan.
Registered Representative and Investment Advisor Representative of and securities offered through OneAmerica Securities, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor, Member FINRA, SIPC. Benchmark Income Group is not an affiliate of OneAmerica Securities and is not a broker dealer or Registered Investment Advisor. Provided content is for overview and informational purposes only and is not intended and should not be relied upon as individualized tax, legal, fiduciary, or investment advice. Guarantees are subject to the claims paying ability of the issuing insurance company.