The role of a wealth manager is to help you and your family figure out where to best open up bank accounts and how to invest your assets to meet your long-term financial goals. Wealth managers should provide short- and long-term expectations with the same portfolio, which can be quite an undertaking. The value of the wealth manager is that he or she provides the client an objective opinion of where best to put assets that will have the greatest likelihood of financial success.
Understanding the Role of a Wealth Manager
Many people confuse a wealth manager with a stockbroker, and then they find themselves playing the public market in ways that work against their goals. Further, wealth managers are not public accountants; it is not their job to manage tax filings or track spending. They are also not attorneys so they will not be able to help you set up asset protection structures. What they can do however is opening up their network to you and introduce you to other professionals who offer those kinds of related services. Having said that, there are ways to make sure a wealth manager is qualified to do the work needed for proper asset and wealth management. Here are six questions that you should be asking when hiring a new wealth manager.
Question #1: How Long Have You Been Practicing?
While most wealth managers are qualified, finding someone that you trust with your savings and the future of your financial path is incredibly important. Everyone needs to get a start somewhere, but finding someone with experience is key.
Question #2: What Are Your Credentials?
Choose a wealth manager who possesses the appropriate professional qualifications to meet your needs. Don't just look for a relevant university degree but also prooven continued education. You want to be working together with someone who stays up to date on new developments and invests in him- or herself.
Question #3: What Is Your Niche?
Some wealth managers may choose to work with a niche clientele - pre-retirees, doctors, educators, women, etc. Alternatively, some wealth managers are more accommodating to helping everyone who meets some general criteria - regardless of age or profession. And then there are wealth managers whose niche is in relation to geography so for example a Swiss wealth manager who helps U.S.-clients diversify their wealth outside their home country. Finding a wealth manager who works with others like you is a great way to make sure they will understand your specific needs and be familiar with options available to you.
Question #4: Do You Have References?
Look online for reviews of the wealth manager that you are doing your due diligence on. Ask the wealth manager if they can provide testimonials or if they can put you in contact with current or former clients who are willing to share their experience. Also, make sure to ask if there have ever been any complaints filed against the advisor you are considering working with.
Question #5: What Are Your Retirement Planning Projections?
How much money will you be able to spend each year from now through your life expectancy?
This is based on assumptions about:
- The rate of return of your assets
- The pace of inflation
- Your spending habits
You’ll want to work with a wealth manager who is able to help you think in the long term and offer realistic expectations of what retirement may look like. They should be able to help you balance your ability to live comfortably today while preparing for a sound retirement.
Question #6: How Are You Compensated?
Transparency is important. Make sure your wealth manager explains the fees clearly so you have a solid understanding of what you’re expected to pay and the services you will receive. If you are going to be working with a fee-only wealth manager, they will be incentivized to provide advice and service that is in line with your goals.
When it comes to planning for your future, a capable and trustworthy wealth manager is an important part of this process. Hiring a suitable wealth manager is something to take seriously. Asking yourself these questions is an important step towards hiring the right person for you and your family.
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