I don’t think I’m alone in saying that when an individual decides to employ the services of a financial advisor or planner, that advisor may very well be the most influential figure in that individual’s financial future. It’s the financial planner who will design the makeup of their financial portfolio and will spearhead the individual in the right direction financially.
From my years of experience as a financial planner, I would argue that usually clients are very aware of how important a planner is to their financial success, and, therefore, I would argue that clients are always very interested in learning how their relationship with their advisor or planner could be improved. I thought it would be worthwhile, therefore, to speak in this ‘Ask Bert Griffin’ article about what I think some of the things a person can do to make sure their relationship with their financial planner is as productive as possible. Let’s dig in.
Engage in periodic, if not regular, communication with your financial advisor. The client-financial planner relationship is not unlike most other relationships in life – it requires regular and consistent communication between the two parties, in this case between the client and his or her financial planner. Though I’m usually disinclined to make blanket statements, I would argue that the more communication there is between a client and his or her financial advisor – and the stronger this communication is – the more likely that the client’s financial will be met and, by the same token, the more likely the client will enjoy financial success.I know that in my role as a financial planner, I make a concerted effort to reach out to my clients on a regular basis. This allows me to update my clients on such topics as the recent changes in their financial portfolios, which parts of their portfolios I feel are performing well, which parts I feel are not performing so well, and other similar matters. I have no doubt that these client updates are imperative to maintaining productive relationships with my clients.
With that said, if your financial advisor is failing to maintain regular contact with your, or if his or her contacts with you are too few and far between for your satisfaction, then you should certainly feel free to express this to your advisor. Complete some independent learning on the details of your financial portfolio.
Here’s the thing – financial topics are not the easiest or simplest topics to understand. Whether it’s learning how mutual funds work, or how stocks and dividends work, there’s a lot to know and a lot to understand.
Now, of course, as a financial planner it’s a major part of my job to explain to my clients the range of investment and financial planning opportunities out there. Furthermore, before investing any of my clients’ assets, I always take pains to clearly explain to them the details of my investment plan and how each particular investment vehicle in their portfolio will work.
However, the reality is that these financial subjects are complex and there’s only so much time in an appointment. Therefore, I always urge my clients to read up on the investment literature that either I or The Bert Griffin Team provide them. By doing so, not only will they gain a better understanding of how exactly I’m helping them create wealth, they can also approach me or my team with more detailed and educated questions the next time we meet, which truly helps evolve our relationship. Lastly, never be afraid to ask your advisor questions or to provide your thoughts and feedback on your portfolio’s performance.
In my nearly two decades of working as a financial advisor, I’ve found that clients traditionally come in three types: there’s the majority of clients, who listen to the recommendations of their advisors and engage in constructive, question-and-answer dialogue with them with the aim of better understanding the advice that’s given. Then, there are those who are more reticent in engaging in dialogue with their advisors, or, who, more accurately, consider the advisor’s recommendations as gospel that shouldn’t be questioned. Finally, there are those clients at the other end of the spectrum, who choose to question the advisor’s recommendations more of than not and who usually decide to make their own financial decisions, independent of their planner’s recommendations.
I’m happy that those clients who engage constructive dialogues with their advisors are in the majority, because, in contrast to the members of the other two client types, that’s how a relationship between a client and an advisor should be – it should be constructive and engaging for both parties, and it should be a relationship in which both advisor and client feel free to express their thoughts and opinions. If there’s any point in which either the client or the financial planner feel that they cannot express their opinions or concerns to one another, then that’s a sure sign that something needs to be changed in the relationship.