I was reading an article a few weeks ago that had to do with "what the best financial planners have in common". In it, this article explained that there were 5 things that stood out most.
They included (in case you don't read the article for yourself):
1. They're fiduciaries.
2. They're transparent about costs.
3. They focus on motivating you.
4. They're clear about your relationship.
5. They shape a plan that meets your needs.
Nothing to argue about with these five things from me.
However, my question to you is this:
What questions should you be asking them?
Maybe you've wondered the same.
To me, this principle is so true in all of life: If you want to get better answers, ask better questions!
That's what today's article is all about. Helping you learn to ask better questions.
As Christians, our questions are (or ought to be) different than the average questions people ask their advisors.
Why? Because our focus and our definition of success is different than theirs.
So we go into our meetings with a unique set of questions to help guide us (and them).
Here are 5 that I think can help give you the right questions to ask so you can get the answers you need.
1. Tell me about your process. What does it look like to work with you now and if we were to work together long-term?
This is a great question to ask that most people never think about. It is important that you are not just "sold" on moving your money or making this person your "advisor", but that you have a clear picture of what is to be expected as you move forward together. Do you like the process? Is it the kind of help or service that you're looking for?
If not, ask more questions along this line or be ready to keep looking.
2. Give me an example of a time when...
This is a great opening line for any questioning where you want concrete examples of how this advisor has done something in the past. You may ask about examples when they've had to fire a client and what lead to that. Or for an example when they had a client who wanted something they strongly disagreed with - how did they handle that?
This is a great way to avoid one-word answers and really get answers you're looking for. So think about things you'd like examples of before you meet with your advisor next time.
3. Tell me about your faith and its importance in your life.
Don't be afraid to ask this question. If you are a Christian and you want to take advice from someone with the same principles and faith as yours, then this is a critical question to ask. Don't be concerned about being politically correct here. It matters who you take advice from and if they are not comfortable talking about or answering a question like this - then you may not be comfortable in working them either.
4. What makes a client the wrong fit for you?
This is a great question to ask because you want to know if you are one of them and (if they're wise) so do they! Why not open up a really important conversation right from the start and make sure that you both are a great fit for one another. Just because an advisor comes "highly recommended" doesn't mean that they are right for you. See how they answer this question and ask great follow-up questions as needed.
5. What is your philosophy of ...
Depending on what type of advisor you are working (tax professional, financial advisor, attorney, etc) you may want to ask about their philosophy about different things.
For example, maybe you want to know their philosophy on taxes, or investing, or insurance, etc. Maybe you want to ask every advisor you work with their philosophy on all of these!
That's up to you. But if you're going to work well together and take the advice of this advisor, it may be wise to start with understanding their philosophy on some key things they'll be advising you on.
These are just 5 of the 15 key questions that I share on our Resource Page. If you're a member of our online membership community, be sure to check them out (absolutely free) and be sure to look at The 6 C's document as well.
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