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What Should You Look for When Choosing a Wealth Advisor?

    

The pursuit of wealth is a constant. It’s the drive that gets you up in the morning and keeps you up at night. Your home, career, family, and legacy all depend on it. Once it enters your life, a new challenge appears—how to best protect and invest it.

If these questions lie unresolved, it may be time to consider a wealth advisor—an expert (or team of experts) who can guide you through the long list of ways to make your money work for you over the long term.

wealth advisor checklist

Why do I need a wealth advisor?

There are many benefits to having a professional keep watch on your wealth, not least of which is the potential to generate more of it, as much as an additional 1.5-4.0 percent over the life of your portfolio. An advisor can also play the following parts in your financial story:

  • Guide: There will be many stops along your path to financial wellness, including homeownership, healthcare management, philanthropy, family, and retirement. A guide who keeps you moving along steadily is as valuable as any investment in your portfolio.

  • Reality check: Bad markets make investors panic. Good markets make them reckless. An advisor can help keep your head in the game and prevent any rash decisions.

  • Disciplinarian: The financial cycles of life can pull you in a myriad of directions, some of which may not support your long-term goals. Someone who regularly checks in to review and adjust your portfolio will be crucial to your long-term success.

When should I consult a wealth advisor?

Financial advice today is as ubiquitous as medical advice (“You need to drink more water”) or computer advice (“Did you try turning it off and on?”). From apps to blogs to robo-investors, we live in a glut of recommendations for what to do with our money. So do human advisors still have a role to play? They certainly should."

A living, breathing person can be an invaluable resource when dealing with these life milestones:

  • You come into some money. Be it a promotion to the corner office or a major inheritance, a rush of new cash can be intoxicating. An advisor can help cool you off and make sure that you direct this windfall to help fulfill your larger goals.

  • You get married or have a baby. Needless to say, these life events will have major implications on your monthly budget, and it will take a lot of weight off your shoulders to have someone help manage childcare costs, salary interruptions, and college savings.

  • You’re ready to retire. Managing a nest egg properly to cover your golden years is a complex task. An advisor can help plan out your resources so they share your longevity.

What qualities should my advisor have?

Not all wealth advisors are created equal. But if they possess the following six features, that’s a good place to start:

  • Qualifications. Your wealth advisor should be a certified financial planner (CFP). They are licensed, regulated, and subject to mandatory continuing education requirements and exams on finance and ethics.

  • Personal relationship. How available are they to serve you, and how excited are they to do it? Is their advice cookie-cutter bland or tailored to your personal story? Do they present complex issues with visuals that demonstrate their importance?

  • Trust. This is your money. All of it. You will spend long hours discussing how every last dollar will fulfill your every last dream. This is an intimate, personal relationship with trust at its core.

  • Depth. No matter how accomplished your advisor may be, ideally they are only one player on a larger team that has a plan of succession and can support you over the long haul.

  • Proven success. War stories of financial conquest are great fun but may not add up to anything that actually helps improve your bottom line. An advisor who instead simplifies complex subjects and moves at a pace that fits your style is a far more valuable asset.

  • Intent. For a financial cooperative like TDECU, your membership is the foundation of our shared success. We answer to clients first and foremost, not shareholders or third-party investors.

What if I need help?

Many choose to manage their wealth independently. That is an option certainly worth considering. But like auto repairs, wealth management is a tricky proposition with lots of moving parts and can leave you stranded by the side of the road if you miscalculate.

Consider a financial cooperative like TDECU to keep your economic engine running smoothly. Join the thousands with whom we’ve built prosperous financial futures.

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