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START PLANNING FOR / MY FINANCES
Eight Questions to ask a Financial Representative

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When you’re trying to make the most of your finances – especially over the course of a lifetime – working with an experienced professional can make a real difference.

Financial representatives can explain things clearly and simplify choices when it comes to the many competing issues in life – e.g. saving for retirement versus saving for college now. A professional should help you look at your finances in a unified, holistic way so you can achieve major milestones, such as starting a family, selling a business, transferring wealth to new generations, and living a fulfilling life along the way. In trying to find a financial representative who is a good fit, consider asking the following questions.

  • 1

    What range of solutions do you offer?
    The financial services industry, which includes anything from banks to investment companies to insurance firms, represents one of the biggest sectors of the US economy – more than $1 trillion annually.1 That makes for a lot of choices. Ask for specifics as to how the representative will manage your money and investments and how those solutions will pertain to your life. 

  • 2

    Do I have the right protection?
    If the unforeseen happens (illnesses, accidents, or worse) most people want to be sure that their family and loved ones would be financially secure. 

  • 3

    Am I saving enough for the future, and in the smartest way?
    There’s no single answer to this question – everyone’s goals are different. Your financial rep, though, should listen to you and show you what’s possible.

  • 4

    Can you make it easy for me to track my progress, even when some accounts aren’t connected to you?
    Financial progress tends to happen gradually, especially at the beginning. Ask if your representative has a way to show you a live snapshot of everything going on in your life – from retirement savings to life insurance to savings accounts.

  • 5

    When people talk about “risks,” what do they mean?
    Ask about the types of risks you may be taking on with certain products, how they could impact you – both positively and negatively – in the long term, and whether there are ways to guarantee more stability.

  • 6

    What happens if my income has ups and downs?
    Uncertainty about the possibility of illness or unemployment may be making you wary of committing to regular payments throughout life, e.g. a mortgage or a whole life insurance policy. Ask your representative to develop a plan to overcome potential stumbling blocks while reaching your key goals.

  • 7

    Does the company have a good track record?
    Feel free to ask about the past. Your financial institution’s history is important, as are their plans for the future.

  • 8

    How do we evaluate the plan?
    Whether you have a big portfolio or are just starting out, economic factors and life can change. Ask how often he or she will be in touch every year to help make sure you’re on track.

The right advice can contribute significantly to long-term prosperity. Pick a financial representative that you not only like and trust, but also one who shows enthusiasm and commitment to your success. He or she should be glad to answer all of the above questions.