You're in Charge during Advisor Interviews
Many times, advisors dominate the interview. They need to get information to know if they can help you, and they have these meetings all the time, so they know the ground that should be covered and can direct you toward what they consider most important.
Don't be bashful.
Smart Investor TipIf the advisor is not willing to accommodate you when she does not have your business, how will she treat you if you become a client?
The advisor's experience often leads her to jump ahead and assume she'll get your business, because that's what happens with most people. It should never be a foregone conclusion that your first meeting will lead to working together, particularly since you should interview several candidates before making a decision. Unless you simply need someone to facilitate a transaction -- so that you need someone to process your stock trades or punch out your tax return in a flash -- you should plan to do three to five meetings before settling on an advisor.
You need those go-sees to find the right balance between art and science. The science part of any financial relationship is how well someone does with "procedures." Just about any lawyer can draft a will, and you will seldom meet a tax preparer or accountant who backs down from a challenging tax return. Brokers and financial planners can come up with investment ideas for anyone.
What distinguishes one advisor in your mind will be how he or she finesses the science and blends it with art. It's about how confident the advisor can make you feel about their ability to handle the chores, and how comfortable the advisor can make you overall.
Smart Investor TipFirst interviews are about how confident the advisor can make you feel about her ability to handle the chores and how comfortable the advisor can make you overall.
By Chuck Jaffe