Common Questions to Ask Financial Advisors and Insightful Answers
Working with a financial advisor is one of those pivotal life decisions—a milestone on your financial journey that can dictate the route of your financial future. It can be tough to know where to start when selecting a financial advisor or a firm to work with. Here are some of the key questions you should ask, along with answers from our team.
Why should I work with a fiduciary?
When selecting a financial advisor, it’s important to know what their responsibility is to you as a client. Fiduciaries are required to act in your best interest, regardless of what they stand to gain or lose. By choosing a financial advisor based on a fiduciary standard of conduct, you can feel confident and expect greater transparency and visibility into the services your advisor provides.
What experience does your team have?
Collectively, we have more than 30 years of experience advising and aiding clients and businesses in their plans for the future. Our service team holds more than 20 years of experience, ensuring our firm is providing the best possible service to our clients.
Who do you typically serve?
We are an all-inclusive firm, working with clients at all stages of life, whether they are just starting out, mid-career, or retired. In addition, we guide business owners who want to provide services to their employees. Just as our mission statement notes, we aspire to provide you with knowledge, security and peace of mind as we walk with you through your life’s journey.®
What services do you offer?
Please visit the Individuals & Families or the Employer Services pages under the “Who We Help” tab on this website to see the range of services we offer.
What is a financial plan?
A financial plan is a deep dive into your entire financial picture. It helps to answer questions including: When can I retire? Can we pay for our child’s college education? Can we afford a second home? How much money will we need in retirement, and how do we ensure we have enough?
Using advanced planning software, our team works with you to gather data such as your income, expenses, liabilities, and assets, and then we combine this information with your goals and areas of concern to present you with a customized analysis. We continue to work with you to align, adjust, recommend, and strategize to address your current and future goals.
Will I work exclusively with one advisor?
Boston Wealth Strategies is proud to offer you a team of professionals and service members. This means that each team member will be aware of your needs and preferences. Your lead advisor will work with a relationship manager and/or our planning department to ensure you receive service that is based on your customized approach.
What are the benefits of working with a team?
This is a simple answer…continuity. We believe that our clients and our firm alike benefit from this continuity. Just as we help families plan for the contingencies of life, we also have planned to provide ongoing service to our clients in the event of the death, disability, or separation from service of a team member. Boston Wealth Strategies is committed to being here to provide service throughout our clients’ lifetime as well as their heirs and future generations.
How much do you typically charge?
That will depend on your particular needs and the way we choose to work together. However, our focus on being a primarily fee-based firm with a holistic approach to your financial picture means we only succeed if you succeed. Generally, there are three ways in which we can be compensated.
- An hourly or set fee for a financial plan
- An asset-based fee or advisory fee for managed wealth accounts
- A commission for products purchased, such as life insurance or long-term care insurance
What is a CFP®?
While many advisors call themselves financial planners, only those who have fulfilled the certification and renewal requirements of the CFP® Board can use the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification. To earn and maintain this certification, CFP® professionals must meet the following requirements.
- Education: CFP® professionals develop theoretical and practical financial planning knowledge by completing a comprehensive course of study at a college or university offering a financial planning curriculum approved by the CFP® Board.
- Examination: CFP® practitioners must pass a comprehensive, six-hour CFP® certification examination that tests their ability to apply financial planning knowledge in an integrated format. The exam covers the financial planning process, tax planning, employee benefits and retirement planning, estate planning, investment management, and insurance.
- Experience: Because CFP® professionals must have at least three years of hands-on experience in the financial planning process, they possess financial counseling skills in addition to technical knowledge.
- Ethics: CFP® practitioners agree to abide by a strict code of professional conduct, known as the CFP® Board’s Code of Ethics and Professional Responsibility, which sets forth their ethical responsibilities to the public, clients, and employers. The CFP® Board also performs a background check on candidates for CFP® certification, who must disclose any investigations or legal proceedings related to their professional or business conduct.
What is an AIF®?
Advisors who have earned the Accredited Investment Fiduciary® (AIF®) certification have acquired a thorough knowledge of fiduciary responsibilities. AIF® designees are required to successfully complete a program on investment fiduciary standards of care at the Center for Fiduciary Studies and have passed a comprehensive examination of the Center’s 27 Prudent Investment Practices. Designees are also required to adhere to continuing professional education requirements, which keep them abreast of recent events in the industry.
What is a CRPS®?
Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist® (CRPS®) is a certification for those who create, implement, and maintain retirement plans for businesses. Unlike most other professional financial planning and advisory professional certification, the CRPS® focuses on wholesale and business clients.
Why do certifications matter?
Earning the certifications listed above requires an advisor to meet a certain number of continuing education credits every year to keep up with industry developments. This helps to ensure that the advisor has the most up-to-date information and knowledge related to practices in financial planning, investment management, corporate planning, and regulatory compliance.
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