When you work hard to accumulate wealth, you’re naturally going to spend the time to find the right partner to help you manage it. A wealth manager can help you manage assets that are critical to you and your loved ones.
You want someone who can help you grow your wealth, but also help you protect what you have. Most importantly, you want to work with someone you’re comfortable with and trust.
It's important to have several conversations with a wealth manager to gauge your comfort, and there are some questions to ask a wealth manager that can help you get a better understanding of how they will approach managing your wealth.
Questions to ask a wealth manager
What is your investment philosophy?
Every wealth manager or financial advisor has a unique outlook on markets that shapes their approach to investing. Their style is, perhaps, why you considered them in the first place.
Regardless, ask them how they evaluate investment opportunities and how they approach portfolio construction and diversification. Be sure to discuss your risk tolerance and investment goals, as both will inform the strategy you ultimately put in place. It’s OK to move on if their philosophy conflicts with your approach to risk, markets or goals.
What services do you offer?
Some advisors or wealth management firms will provide only one or a handful of services. Some focus mostly on investing, but you may need tax planning or legal services as well. As your net worth grows, so too does its complexity.
Does the advisor or firm offer additional services, or do they have a relationship with other skilled and trusted professionals, such as a CPA or tax attorney, who they can pull into conversations when necessary?
What are the fees?
Wealth managers can make their money in a variety of ways. Some wealth managers charge specific fees, such as account setup and onboarding fees, transaction fees, etc. Others may charge a percentage of the assets under their management or earn a commission when they sell certain financial products.
It’s important for you to understand the terms of engagement before you agree to work with someone. More importantly, a reputable wealth management firm will be fully transparent about their fee structure.
How would we work together?
What does communication typically look like? Will you be consulted before portfolio adjustments or other strategic changes? How often will you check in with your wealth manager?
Get a sense of the relationship you want with a wealth manager and ensure you’re both on the same page about level and frequency of communication.
If my goals change, how might our engagement change?
Even the most well-laid financial plans occasionally need adjustments. You might get married or divorced; have more or fewer children than you originally thought you would; decide to move across the country or around the world; retire early, only to then decide that you want to start a business of your own. The list of possibilities truly is endless.
Whatever twists and turns your life may take, your wealth management plan should evolve to meet your goals. Ask your wealth manager about potential audibles to gauge their ability to remain flexible and provide alternative, creative solutions to support you.