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19 Questions To Ask Your Advisor

January 11, 2018



A while back the Wall Street Journal released the 19 questions you should ask your advisor. Because I know you are all clamoring to find out, but haven’t had the time to ask, I took the liberty of memorializing my answers here. Enjoy!


As always, feel free to reach out with any questions. Or click here for an in person or virtual coffee.


1. Are you always a fiduciary, and will you state that in writing? 


You know it!


2. Does anybody else ever pay you to advise me and, if so, do you earn more to recommend certain products or services? 


No way!


3. Do you participate in any sales contests or award programs creating incentives to favor particular vendors?


Absolutely not!


4. Will you itemize all your fees and expenses in writing?




5. Are your fees negotiable?


I price my services to be very approachable and have a tier for everyone. Which means we should be able to find something that works for you!


6. Will you consider charging by the hour or retainer instead of an annual fee based on my assets?


This is exactly how I operate!


7. Can you tell me about your conflicts of interest, orally and in writing?




8. Do you earn fees as adviser to a private fund or other investments that you may recommend to clients?




9. Do you pay referral fees to generate new clients?


Umm, no. But I do appreciate when clients take the time to post reviews on Google, Yelp and Facebook, and of course, when they tell their friends how cool I am.


10. Do you focus solely on investment management, or do you also advise on taxes, estates and retirement, budgeting and debt management, and insurance?


I prefer to engage with my clients on the latter. While investment management is part of the deal, without the other things, we really cannot put a proper plan in place for those investments.


11. Do you earn fees for referring clients to specialists like estate attorneys or insurance agents?




12. What is your investment philosophy?


Simple, systematic and diligent. I do not believe in the next shiny new thing. In a properly diversified portfolio, you will already have that shiny new thing, but at a much more reasonable exposure.


13. Do you believe in technical analysis or market timing?




14. Do you believe you can beat the market?


Haha, no. Through training and experience, I have learned a well diversified portfolio with low fees generates the highest risk adjusted returns.


15. How often do you trade?


As infrequently as possible, but when necessary to re-balance the portfolio, allocate cash, or for tax planning.


16. How do you report investment performance?


After all expenses.


17. Which professional credentials do you have, and what are their requirements?


I am a proud holder of  the Certified Financial Planner™ designation, which requires rigorous study, continuing education and adherence to high ethical standards.


18. After inflation, taxes and fees, what is a reasonable estimated return on my portfolio over the long term?


Somewhere in the neighborhood of 4%.


19. Who manages your money?


I do, and I invest in the same assets that I recommend to clients.


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