What to Look for in a “Real” Financial Advisor

What to Look for in a “Real” Financial Advisor

A lot of people ask me, “What should I invest in?” They’re looking for the quick fix, a black and white approach to managing their money. But my response is always, “Well, what is the purpose of this money?”

This response often causes people to look at their financial planning in a new way. Sometimes it’s not what they want to hear, but I believe true financial advice means guiding clients down the path to their goals, not just to a certain number.

Carl Richards says, “It’s not about finding the best investment; it’s about asking ourselves why we’re investing in the first place.” As a real financial advisor, I can only truly help someone reach their goals if I know the purpose of the money. Purpose gives us a time frame, highlights the commitment needed and helps us budget accordingly. (Learn more about this approach in our blog post, How aggressive should you be with your investing.)

Most investment advisors will ask about your goals, but if they’re only dealing with your investments, they’re not seeing the whole picture. We deal with your total net worth — we see the whole picture of your financial life and long-term dreams. We know your family, your marriage, your struggles. With a view into the big picture of your life and everything that impacts your spending and saving, we’re most equipped to help.

And, when it comes to fees, clients pay us a flat fee. We’re not fee-based, we’re fee-only. This means that we’re never trying to impress our clients with a snazzy mutual fund or sell them on something that’s “hot”. We’re steadily, consistently working for our client’s best interests, even if that means they need to move money out of the investments we manage in order to reach their goals.

Five things to look for in a real financial advisor:

  1. A real financial advisor will consider all the options available. They’ll help their clients avoid big mistakes and be on the client’s side of the table. They’re always searching for the best way possible to help a client reach their goals.
  2. A real financial advisor is empathetic, detail-oriented, responsive and communicative. They get to the heart of the matter, seeing past just numbers and helping the client look at the long-term possibilities. They’re not selling a product, they’re illuminating a path.
  3. A real financial advisor is someone you like, and who likes you! They’re someone with whom you share a worldview. My clients share their life with me and I deeply care for them. Without that, I couldn’t advise them well.
  4. A real financial advisor is self-aware and has experiences to draw on as they’re guiding their clients. They’re connected in their community, and thus able to connect clients with those who can serve them, or be served by them.
  5. A real financial advisor is present in your life, no matter where you live. They’re responsive to your needs and engaged with you. They’re someone who wants clients to be empowered to take control of their own financial situation.

At Sound Stewardship, we’re not only investment advisors or financial planners — we’re big picture, life advisors. We believe that life is so much more than mutual funds, and it’s our passion to walk with clients along the path to meet their financial goals. That’s the heart of a real financial advisor.

Find out if Sound Stewardship is a good fit for you. Contact us today at 913-317-6000.

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