What to ask your financial adviser

You should have just three key questions, and none of them include an outlook on the stock market.

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From the June 2014 issue of the magazine.

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Q: What questions should I ask my financial adviser at our annual meeting?—Pat Knight, Guelph, Ont.

A: I have just three key questions, and none of them include an outlook on the stock market. First, I ask “What more could I be doing to reach my life goals?” Think holistically about what you want in your life, today, next year and in retirement—travel, new experiences, renovations, a new car. Then take your adviser through those areas and see what advice they have to help you bring those goals to life. Second, ask “How has my portfolio performed versus the benchmark indexes over the last year and over the last five years?” Institutional money managers keep a close eye on this “relative” performance. So should you, because missing by just one or two percentage points can cost tens of thousands of dollars over time. Finally, ask “How can we work better together so I get the most value for my money?” Great advice is worth paying for, but it’s up to you to ensure that you get full value.

Bruce Sellery is a frequent guest on financial television shows and author of Moolala. Do you have your own personal question? Write to Bruce at ask@moneysense.ca

2 comments on “What to ask your financial adviser

  1. I also like to ask where he’s at in his life. My planner is the same age as I am so he just bought himself a house, getting ready for kids and paying back his school loans… We’re at the same spot so I benefit from a full understanding of my needs without too much speculation from his part. Now I’m just looking for a “same age doctor”… harder to find!

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  2. I would also add, “How do you get paid?” Specifically when he is selling you something. For some reason, we have a general idea how everyone else in the world is paid, but how your financial advisor is paid is a secret.

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