Building the Relationship with a Financial Advisor

Whether an advisor is a regular partner in your financial decisions or just someone you turn to for a checkup and fine-tuning of your own strategy, you will be best served by building a relationship over time.

That means calling with questions and concerns, arranging the occasional meeting or lunch when there is no pressing business to transact, and more. Many advisors produce a client newsletter, or get one from the financial services firm that clears their transactions; read them, and correspond with the advisor when something strikes a chord.

That's particularly true when you know that the newsletter is the advisor's "baby," her personal platform.

For years, my brother Rob worked with an advisor named Jack, who produced a regular client newsletter that covered everything from his thoughts and feelings on the market to his favorite vacation spots and recipes. When Jack retired, he kept the newsletter going, as a means of expressing his views and sharing his thoughts and feelings with his friends and former clients. One time, my brother asked me about something he read in Jack's newsletter—which Jack graciously sent me, though I was never a client—about a certain rule and how it might affect him; I told him to follow up with Jack. Suffice it to say the change was a very big deal that truly will help my brother live out his days more comfortably, but Jack was particularly anxious to be helpful and look into how the change affected Rob because he knew the call was spurred by the newsletter.

Advisors don't necessarily have time for chit-chat, so plan your calls and meetings. Gather your concerns and questions, the articles that spark your questions, and more. If your planner encourages e-mails from clients—and you should ask—don't be afraid to forward items that you believe could affect you.

Over time, you and the advisor both will get a better sense for each other. That will be important in the long run, as circumstances change and you need to adjust your financial plans to suit your new reality.

By Chuck Jaffe
Chuck Jaffe is a senior columnist and host of two weekly podcasts at MarkWatch. He has also been a guest speaker on several television and radio shows.

Copyrighted 2020. Content published with author's permission.

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