5 Attributes to Look For In a Financial Expert

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Next to finding the right babysitter or nanny to care for your children, there is nothing more important than finding the right financial expert.

Not only is it vital this person has the skills, knowledge and background to properly manage your personal finances, they need to be someone you can trust and generally get along with.

I’m cautious when it comes to financial advice from experts (self-proclaimed or otherwise). Here’s a simple checklist of attributes for financial or investment professionals.

1. They don’t overly use financial jargon

A financial advisor needs to communicate with you, on your level and be able to answer any questions or problems that might come up. You don’t want to give over your money if they use so much financial jargon, you don’t understand the basics or feel comfortable with the decisions.

2. They are organized and detailed

If they aren’t doing a successful job at managing their own finances or investments why would you want them to manage yours? In general a good financial expert pays attention to the details and keeps everything organized.

Yes, sometimes work can get overwhelming and we all get busy, but as a rule of thumb, even their office should be kept up since it’s an outward reflection of their work style.

3. Always stays in contact

Whether it’s a quick email or phone call, a financial advisor needs to stay in contact with you on a (semi) regular basis. If you have a problem or questions, you should expect to hear back from them in a timely manner, and be able to get a hold of them when needed.

Nothing is more frustrating than to feel like your financial professional is too “busy” to respond or keep you updated.

4. They enjoy doing their job

This is probably one of the most important attributes any finance expert should possess. They should at least like their job and enjoy their work (on some level). If they’re just doing the job for the money, benefits or career opportunities, they aren’t doing it for the right reasons. Their enjoyment will bubble over into other areas, and create a good atmosphere for you as a client.

5. Are genuinely interested in your success

Sometimes it’s easy for any expert to view their clients as just a number on a sheet or another file in the cabinet. But it’s still important for them to be genuinely interested in your success and your future.

If they only care about the commission or meeting their quota then consider finding someone else. The relationship needs to be professional, but there should be an element of a personable relationship.

Whether you’re looking for an investment professional, retirement expert or personal finance guru, you’ll want them to have these attributes. Your money and future is one of the most valuable tools you possess, and you want it to be in good, trustworthy hands.

What do you look for in a financial professional?

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4 comments

  1. That’s a great list, Carrie. I wrote something similar a week or so ago which contained many of the same elements you list as being valuable.

    One thing that I think should top all others, and maybe you consider it part of communicating, is the ability to listen. Too many brokers, and planners like to come right out with their idea of a “plan” for their clients without even giving them a chance to speak their minds. Without the ability to listen, the “expert” has a greater chance of going against the client’s wishes, putting them on a path they aren’t comfortable with, or just plain pissing them off.

    • Carrie says:

      Looks like great minds think alike then 🙂

      I definitely agree that listening is a HUGE part of what’s important when looking for a financial adviser. I think it’s a big part of communicating as some people don’t differentiate the difference between two-way dialogue (incl listening) and just one-way monologue. You bring up a great point. Thanks for commenting.

  2. Martilyo says:

    I think the biggest thing I would look for in an adviser is that they are more of a teacher than a salesman. Don’t tell me I should put my money in A,B, and C, but tell me why I should. Also, investing to achieve maximum return should not a “set it and forget it” approach. I feel your adviser should call you at least quarterly and let you know what is going on in your portfolio, give recommendations or at very least check in on you and make sure everything is going okay and the have not forgotten about you.

    • Carrie says:

      I totally agree. Having someone that can explain the reasons why and help me learn throughout the process is what I look for too. Thanks for commenting

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