Here is a check list of questions to ask yourself:
1) Does he/she prognosticate and predict?
We’ve been taught to expect our experts to tell us what is coming, yet in reality no one knows. We must be prepared for all possible and unseen events to the extent we can be.
2) When the market makes a big move up or down, does your advisor suggest changes to your portfolio?
A) Why was it incorrectly positioned in the first place?
B) Were there commission charges on the changes?
Your portfolio should be allocated to weather any storm for your time horizon and your comfort level. After that it is just routine maintenance to keep the allocation aligned with your original plan. The only time this might change is when you have big changes such as marriage or retirement.
3) Do you receive education on how the markets really work from your advisor?
Is there an opportunity for clients to learn methods of investing including philosophies so you can discern what yours is?
4) Does your advisor talk ‘above’ you? When you listen to your advisor is he/she understandable?
If you don’t understand, does he/she re-frame the answer in a way that you do? It is important you know what you are doing and why with your investments.
5) Do you have a high feeling of trust? Do you feel good after talking with him or her?
This will be your experience when your advisor is also a good ‘coach’. Your emotions will invariably work against your success if they go unchecked. You may be tempted to buy and sell at inopportune times. The stock markets will always have drops of 20% or more, and our decisions during those times can easily damage our long term plans. It is important that you can voice your fears and concerns to your advisor so that not only are you heard, but hopefully you will learn the truth about the markets and not the latest media buzz.
6) Have you been encouraged by your advisor to have reasonable expectations?
A) The markets will cycle through bull and bear markets. During the last 31
years we had 24 positive returns. Even during the positive years the average intra-year decline was 14%
B) The stock markets will invariably decline over 20% at some time.
Are you prepared to stick with your plan no matter what is going on in the world and the markets? This is a sign of a seasoned, well-educated investor.
7) Lastly does your advisor understand, when it comes right down to it, your success has more to do with your internal commitment, internal guidance and financial maturity than any other variable?
If you have no resolve to leave your money invested through the tough times, can’t resist spending more than you earn, or you haven’t devised a good way to save, no advisor can be of much help.