Jump to main content


5 Questions to Ask When Selecting Your Financial Advisor

The process of hiring a financial advisor can often feel like stepping into a complex maze of financial decisions. Here are five questions to ask when meeting with a potential financial advisor that will help you navigate the decision.

mixed race couple shaking hands with new financial advisors

The initial review of your financial standing to understand the need for professional advice, followed by the detailed task of looking through prospective advisors to find one that aligns with your financial goals, can be time-consuming but important. Having insightful conversations with potential advisors is a crucial step in making an informed decision. Here are some essential questions to ask to guide you in your search for the right financial advisor:

1. "How are you compensated?"

Examining the compensation structure of your financial advisor is key to understanding the dynamics of your professional relationship. Uncover whether they operate on a fee-only, fee-based, or commission-based model. Neither model is inherently flawed, but understanding the compensation model paints a clear picture of the financial implications of your advisory relationship.

2. "Do you adhere to the fiduciary standard?"

The fiduciary standard is a hallmark of ethical and client-centric advisory practice. It mandates that advisors prioritize your interests above all else when recommending financial or investment products. Unlike the "suitability standard," which only requires recommendations to be suitable, the fiduciary standard ensures that the advice is not only apt but also aligns with your best interests, even if it means less commission for the advisor. This question reveals the ethical compass and client commitment of the advisor.

3. "What relevant education or experience do you have?"

An exploration into the advisor’s educational background and professional credentials such as Certified Financial Planner (CFP®), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), or Certified Public Accountant (CPA) can be enlightening. While no designation guarantees flawless advice, they are indicative of the advisor's commitment and competence in the financial domain. Additionally, understanding their experience, especially in addressing financial situations similar to yours, can provide a glimpse into their expertise and ability to address your specific financial concerns.

Mixed race couple looking at their finances in the kitchen

4. "Do you work with clients like me?"

This question delves into the advisor’s experience, especially with clients whose financial circumstances resonate with yours. It is advantageous to work with an advisor who has a detailed understanding of your specific needs, be it wealth accumulation for growing professionals or retirement planning for seasoned individuals. An advisor familiar with your financial life stage can provide tailored advice and strategies.

5. "How often will we communicate?"

Communication is the cornerstone of a transparent and successful advisory relationship. Establishing the frequency and modes of communication at the outset is crucial. Knowing that you can reach out to your advisor with questions or concerns and receive timely responses is reassuring. This question also explores the advisor’s approach to keeping you updated on financial strategies, market changes, and the performance of your portfolio. A clear communication framework fosters an environment for addressing your financial concerns and objectives.

The Final Takeaway: Taking the time to find the right financial advisor is an important step toward making your money work for you. Having a thoughtful list of questions ready not only helps you make a wise choice but also initiates a relationship based on honesty, trust, and shared expectations. Exercising care in selecting a financial advisor can really shape the path of your financial life towards a brighter future. Therefore, do your due diligence, ask pointed questions, and ensure that you are comfortable with the advisor before entrusting them with your financial future.

Baker Boyer operates under a fee-only compensation model, ensuring transparency and alignment with our clients' interests as fiduciaries. With a team of qualified and experienced experts, we offer tailored financial advice. We prioritize regular communication, keeping our clients informed and engaged in their financial planning process. For personalized guidance, whether you are just getting started in your financial journey or have more questions regarding meeting with a financial advisor, contact a Baker Boyer Advisor today. We can be reached by calling (509) 525-2000 or by filling out our "Let’s Talk” form below.

About the Author

Tori Anguiano

Tori Anguiano, CFP®

Assistant Vice President
Financial Planner

Let's Talk!