Help Your Financial Planner Help You

How strong is your relationship with your financial planner? There is no doubt that the past few years have been difficult for both clients and planners alike. It’s been a tough environment to make money. It’s situations like this that can put a strain on a client-planner relationship.

What is the solution? After all, a good financial planner is hard to find and the good ones have a limited capacity to take on new clients. When you are fortunate to find a planner with whom you “click” – someone you can understand and trust – you really want to solidify this relationship for years to come. You want to be the kind of client that any planner would love to work with over the long-term.

Be as open and candid as possible. You want a planner who really understands your situation and circumstances. Express your concerns and expectations about performance; however, understand that markets go through cycles. Recent events could not have been predicted and it’s not your planner’s fault.

Most planners specialize in working with a certain type of client: wealth builders; small-business owners; retirees. Find a planner who specializes in helping clients with your kind of needs. Make sure you are playing in the right league. The advice you get will likely be more thoughtful and appropriate.

Some people spread their investments across several financial institutions. However, giving an advisor a portion of your portfolio without telling what else you have invested is a bit like asking a doctor to treat you for a pain and not telling where it hurts. Consolidating your investments may have other advantages. Some companies offer clients with larger portfolios a break on fees.

The most important aspect of this relationship is trust. Your planner will take the time to explain the rationale behind his or her strategies, ensure that the recommendations are appropriate and that you are comfortable with your decisions. However, if you consistently resist taking advice, insist on actions that are opposite from the recommended strategy, or ask them to explain the same strategy over and over without ever making up your mind, pretty soon either you or your planner (or both) will wonder why you are paying them in the first place.

A planner-client relationship can be very rewarding experience over time. Like all quality relationships it requires patience and work. A great relationship can make the difference between a portfolio of generic investments that you don’t know much about and a portfolio that you are confident is meeting your goals and will help you finance your dreams. In the end, it’s your risk and your reward, so do what you can to help your advisor…help you.

The foregoing is for general information purposes and is the opinion of the writer. This information is not intended to provide personal advice including, without limitation, investment, financial, legal, accounting or tax advice. Please call or write to Rick Sutherland CLU, CFP, FDS, R.F.P., to discuss your particular circumstances or suggest a topic for future articles at 613-798-2421 or E-mail Mutual Funds provided through FundEX Investments Inc.

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