21 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor – Intro

This series covers the 21 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor.

The list of questions was inspired by Jason Zweig of the Wall Street Journal and his blog post: The 19 Questions to Ask Your Financial Adviser.

Answers to Jason’s questions I read from other advisor websites lacked depth.

Yes, or No, sometimes needs more context and a greater explanation into the whys.

The goal of this series is to target the essence of what I think Jason was trying to protect you from, and help you make a better educated decision.


21 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor
  1. Are you always a fiduciary, and will you state that in writing?
  2. Does anybody else ever pay you to advise me and, if so, do you earn more to recommend certain products or services?
  3. Do you participate in any sales contests or award programs creating incentives to favor particular vendors?
  4. Will you itemize all your fees and expenses in writing?
  5. Are your fees negotiable?
  6. Will you consider charging by the hour or retainer instead of an annual fee based on my assets?
  7. Can you tell me about your conflicts of interest, orally and in writing?
  8. Do you earn fees as an adviser to a private fund, or other investments that you may recommend to clients?
  9. Do you pay referral fees to generate new clients?
  10. Do you focus solely on investment management, or do you also advise on taxes, estates, retirement, budgeting, debt management, and insurance?
  11. Do you earn fees for referring clients to specialists like estate attorneys or insurance agents?
  12. What is your investment philosophy?
  13. Do you believe in technical analysis or market timing?
  14. Do you believe you can beat the market?
  15. How often do you trade?
  16. How do you report investment performance?
  17. Which professional credentials do you have, and what are their requirements?
  18. After inflation, taxes and fees, what is a reasonable estimated return on my portfolio over the long term?
  19. Who manages your money?
  20. What is your professional background?
  21. What do you value most in client relationships?