Whether you’ve been investing for years or are now deciding to grow your wealth, working with a financial advisor can help you focus your plan and reach your goals. Each financial situation is unique, but 10 questions you could ask your financial advisor include:

  • How do you manage risks?
  • What’s the investment plan?
  • What are the fees?
  • How will you help me reach my goals?
  • What are your credentials and experience?
  • Can you provide referrals?
  • Are my goals still on track?
  • How have my investments performed?
  • Does my investment plan work with my tax strategies?
  • Should I have a focus on anything new in the upcoming year?

Of course, this isn’t an all-inclusive list. You may already be familiar with your advisor’s fee structure or have questions we don’t cover here. The important thing to remember is that your financial planner is there to make your life easier and help you meet your financial goals, so ask them anything about your finances and investments.

10 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

The reality is that you should be asking your financial advisor questions that are specific to your financial situation and investment or retirement goals. But here are 10 questions to give you an idea of where to start to make the most of your time when you sit down with your advisor.

How Do You Manage Investment Risks?

Nearly every investment comes with a degree of risk. The amount of risk varies by size and type of investment.

Diversifying your portfolio across different asset classes and industries is important for effective risk management. Doing this can help spread the risk and minimize the impact of any single investment on the overall portfolio. 

Additionally, setting clear investment objectives, establishing risk tolerance levels, and regularly reviewing and adjusting your portfolio can help mitigate risks.

What Is the Investment Plan for My Portfolio?

A natural part of risk management is a solid investment plan. 

An investment plan is a strategic approach to managing your financial resources to achieve long-term growth to meet your financial objectives. It involves actively identifying investment opportunities, assessing their potential risks and returns, and implementing a diversified portfolio to optimize your chances of success.

What Fees Do You Charge?

When you hire a financial planner to help with your investment goals, you’re hiring a professional who understands the industry. But, financial planner pay structures operate differently than professional services like lawyers. Some investors may work on a fee-based structure and charge a flat fee depending on the service. But many operate on a commission basis. For example, they may take a certain percentage of the returns on your investment.

Asking how your advisor is getting paid is a fair question, and a reputable advisor should have no problem reviewing their fee structure with you so you know exactly how you’re spending your money.

How Will You Help Me Reach My Financial Goals?

You’ve worked hard to accumulate wealth, and now you’re exploring how you can make it grow. You likely have some very specific goals in mind, so it’s fair to ask your prospective advisor how they can help you reach them.

Perhaps you haven’t made any specific goals other than wanting to grow your wealth. A good financial planner should be able to help you set realistic goals for that growth that you haven’t thought about yourself.

What Experience & Qualifications Do You Have?

There are various licenses and qualifications in the financial sector. What one professional is licensed to invest in another maybe isn’t. It’s important to know what your financial advisor is qualified to do, especially if you have specific goals in mind.

Some specific designations to look for include:

  • Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA): An individual must possess knowledge on things like debt and equity investment analysis, alternative investment analysis, and portfolio management in order to become acquire the CFA designation,
  • Certified Financial Planner (CFP): The CFP designation is considered the standard for the financial planning profession. You can be assured your financial advisor has demonstrated knowledge, skills, and experience with creating and evaluating financial plans, including investing.
  • Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU): CLU is another industry standard designation that signifies an individual is qualified to develop solutions for individuals and businesses in areas of creating wealth and preserving it, risk management, estate planning, and wealth transfer.

Can You Provide Referrals?

Just because a person is legally able to invest or offer certain advice doesn’t automatically mean they’re a good fit for you. When you invest a large amount of money with someone, you’re trusting them to care for that investment for you. Asking for referrals to other satisfied clients can be a great way to ensure you’re ready to build a professional relationship with the financial planner.

Questions to Ask During an Annual Review

Here are a few important questions to discuss with your planner during an annual review:

Are My Financial Goals Still on Track?

The market goes up and down. That’s the nature of investing and where the inherent risk of many investments comes from. It’s a good idea to ensure your financial goals are on track during your annual review with your advisor. Another way of asking this question could be: does anything need to change about my goals?

How Have My Investments Performed?

Different investments will have different expected returns. Reviewing the performance of your investments during an annual review gives you a chance to discuss any changes you’d like to make.

Does My Investment Plan Work with My Tax Strategies?

Part of investing is the benefit it can bring to your tax strategy. For example, topping up your RRSPs every year can help lower your taxable income when it comes time to file taxes. So, make sure you discuss how your investments are aligned with your tax strategies.

Should I Have New Focuses in the Upcoming Year?

Your investment strategy may need adjustments, not necessarily because it’s not working, but because your financial advisor stays up-to-date with industry changes. For instance, they might have identified a lucrative investment opportunity you haven’t considered. In such cases, they could suggest diversifying your portfolio to include it.

A financial advisor and client sitting at a table talking about investing.

Discuss Your Financial Goals with Our Team

There’s no limit to the questions you can ask your advisor about investing. Hiring a professional to help manage your portfolio provides a custom approach that accounts for your particular situation and aims to maximize your returns and grow your wealth.

Call us at Qopia Financial if you have questions about investing—whether you’re seasoned or new to it. Our professional team is happy to answer your questions and get you on track.

Benjamin Lewandowski, CFP, CIM
Benjamin Lewandowski, CFP, CIM

I help the disengaged investor reach their financial goals by taking the guesswork out of their investment strategy and bringing clarity to their financial plan. Let me build a personalized plan and help you reach financial independence.

From the beginning of my career, my biggest goal has been making sure clients feel like they have been given unbiased, expert advice. In an industry with very little transparency between the advisor and the client, not to mention the low barriers of entry, it is imperative for clients to have justified service for the costs they pay.