If you are a regular reader of this column, chances are you are at least considering getting a financial advisor or have one already. We’ve talked through some of the things you should look for, but how do you know when an advisor won’t be a fit?

The wrong advisor can be nearly as harmful as not having one at all. Here are five signs an advisor might not be for you.

They won’t return your calls

Everyone gets busy, takes vacation, and spends time with family. Advisors are no different, and trust us, you don’t want an advisor who is overworked.

But your advisor should make an effort to address your questions outside of a one or two-year review. If you are feeling concerned about market volatility, or wondering how policy changes might impact your retirement, a good advisor should be responsive and provide answers, even if that answer is to “stay the course”.

They aren’t independent

It goes without saying that you want an advisor who represents you, first and foremost. Unfortunately, many advisors are incentivized to steer their clients to proprietary products.

Not all financial professionals have a fiduciary obligation to do what is in your best interests. Rather, they fulfill a suitability obligation, which simply means they must have a reasonable basis to believe their decisions benefit you and that their transaction fees cannot be exorbitant.

They lack broad expertise

Imagine asking your advisor a question about taxes and being met with a shrug. You wouldn’t have a lot of confidence in their ability to guide you into a low-tax retirement. A good advisor may not have a ready answer to every question, but they should have those answers at their fingertips, and have access to professionals with a broad array of knowledge who can help approach your financial problems.

They don’t keep up on policy

In this environment, it is simply unacceptable not to be up to speed on proposed policy changes. Many of the changes currently on the table would be retroactive to the beginning of the year or are based on 2020 tax filings. These have real-time impacts on your finances.

Your advisor should make it a priority to educate themselves on how state and federal policy is changing, and how it impacts your specific situation. Your retirement is not a set it and forget it exercise and being adaptable is vital to being successful.


You don’t see eye to eye

This one is a bit subjective, and that’s okay. Your advisor is going to know some of the most intimate and personal details of your life, and will be working with you for years, if not decades.

We want to work with people who want to work with us. If you don’t feel comfortable with an advisor for any reason, tangible or intangible, it is time to look elsewhere.

The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.

This article was originally published in the Pioneer Press. You may view the article here.