Now that you’ve been working for a few years, have you asked yourself questions like:
- Should I be saving or investing money?
- What are my dreams and goals? How can I reach them?
- Should I be doing something else besides my employer’s 401k plan?
- Can I invest or find ways to help others?
If you’ve been asking yourself any of these questions, then it might be time to begin your financial planning process. Here are some important things to consider first.
Top 7 Things To Consider When Hiring A Wealth Advisor
At Stonecrop Wealth Advisors, we know that the best financial planning process doesn’t just help you reach your money goals. It primarily enables you to reach your life goals. It’s what we call a “life-centered” process that gets to the root of who you are, where you want to go, and how to get there.
You owe it to yourself, those you love, and your goals to work with an advisor who understands your vision and has access to the tools and philosophy needed to make it happen.
1. What Is a Financial Plan?
Simply put, it is a roadmap to meet your goals. And while sometimes you can get to a new destination without a map, the trip will be much smoother and stress-free with the right directions. You work hard for your money, and a plan will help make sure your money works hard for you.
2. What Goes Into Developing a Financial Plan?
Understanding your goals is the first step. While a financial planner can help you refine or expand on these with questions or worksheets, you should have a good idea of what you want.
- Are you saving for a house? (Or a car?)
- Are you planning a family?
- Do you need to save for a wedding?
- Are you saving for a college education?
- Do you want to retire early? Travel the world?
- Do you want to retire early and enter another life phase, such as working for a non-profit?
- Are you looking into philanthropy and donating to your college, church, or other charity organization? Do good for others?
- Do you want to invest in sustainability?
There are no right or wrong goals. Listing your goals helps make them concrete—and it’s the first step toward making them happen.
3. What Else Does a Financial Planner Need To Know About You?
Besides your goals, a financial planner will want to know:
- Your income
- Believe it or not, you don’t have to be wealthy to have a wealthy advisor
- If you are taking advantage of your employer’s 401k
- If you have any other savings or investments, including an emergency fund
- If you have any life insurance and, later if you will need long-term care insurance
- If you have any debts or tax considerations
- If you have an estate plan or desire one
- If you use a budget or need one
4. What Four Things Do You Need To Know About a Financial Planner?
- Do they specialize? Some advisors may specialize in retirement planning or planning for business owners. Make sure they concentrate on people with similar goals to you. At Stonecrop, we help clients develop the purpose behind their money and help them connect their money to their life’s purpose.
- Do they match your risk tolerance with an appropriate portfolio? Aggressive or conservative? All stocks versus bonds and index funds? Make sure there is a match between your styles and comfort levels. Stonecrop has a unique investment strategy you can read more about here. We help our clients achieve their best life with the resources they have, effectively navigating past inevitable obstacles to a more prosperous future.
- Are they fiduciaries — someone who is legally obligated to work in your best interest? Fiduciary financial advisors must avoid conflicts of interest and only buy and sell investments that are the best fit for their clients. An advisor that does not have a fiduciary relationship can recommend products that would pay a higher commission rather than being the best fit for you. Stonecrop is a fiduciary financial advisor.
- What are their credentials?
Make sure your advisor’s education credentials include Series 7, Series 66, or Series 65 exams. Many go on to become a CFP (Certified Financial Planner). At Stonecrop, the majority of our investment committee members are CFA Charter holders.
5. How Much Does It Cost?
Some advisors charge a flat fee, some charge a percentage of your assets under management, and some are paid a commission on the investments they sell. Make sure you understand what you’ll pay because some charges will cost you more.
6. What Other Role Can an Advisor Play in Increasing Returns?
One of the most valuable roles an advisor fills is to act as a calming influence, especially during times of market turmoil. Supplying steady, fact-based information can keep clients from having knee-jerk reactions, detrimental to their finances. This has been identified as having one of the biggest impacts on account performance.
7. Is Happiness Important to You?
A recent study showed that people who work with a financial advisor feel happiness, confidence, and security in their personal and financial lives. Our Stonecrop mission and commitment work at matching those results. We work to make sure that our clients lose their stress and anxiety and can embrace the future of their dreams.
Are You Interested in Speaking With a Stonecrop Wealth Advisor?
We are a full-service financial and investment advisory firm that works with both families and non-profit institutions. We help you get to the root of the purpose behind your money and to connect the money to your purpose. Then we take your resources and put them on a path towards a more prosperous future, discovering your best life.
Financial planning is not a one-size-fits-all. We work with what you have and what you want to do to develop your unique financial plan.
One thing that separates us from other companies is that our mission to help you is what motivates us, not the money. We seek new clients because we believe you will benefit from what we do and how we do it.
Nothing makes us happier than when our clients can do good and be generous toward their families and communities.
Like to find out more about Stonecrop and our financial planning services? Sign up for our weekly e-newsletter, MacGray Matter, from our president, Douglas MacGray, or connect with us here. We look forward to sharing more about our ‘wholistic’ methods with you.