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10 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

By John Benedict

Creating the future you visualize for yourself and your loved ones is a worthy goal. But pursuing this goal with actionable steps can feel challenging without the right kind of help. Collaborating with a committed financial advisor can offer you the direction and assistance you need on this journey. But if you’re new to working with a financial advisor, you may wonder which one is the best fit for you. How do you know if they have your best interests at heart?

That’s why we’ve gathered 10 essential questions you can pose to a potential financial advisor to empower you to make your decision with confidence.    

1. Are You a Fiduciary?

There’s a reason this is the first question—its importance cannot be overstated! An advisor who serves as a fiduciary accepts a responsibility to put his or her client’s interests first and foremost in all decisions. A fiduciary is legally required to avoid conflicts of interest and remain unbiased in their recommendations and advice. 

How can you know for certain that an advisor you’re interviewing is a fiduciary? The firm will either be listed as a Registered Investment Advisor or the advisors on the team will hold certifications that hold them to the fiduciary standard, such as the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, Chartered Financial Analyst®, or Certified Public Accountant professional designations. Keep in mind, if the advisor doesn’t fit those descriptions, they may still act as a fiduciary in certain situations, like sharing a recommendation, but not necessarily when selling products. 

J2 Capital Management is a Registered Investment Advisory firm and abides by the fiduciary standard of professional conduct. We believe in transparency and honesty, doing what we say and finishing what we start—all for your benefit. 

2. Do You Hold Any Credentials?

We take credentials seriously, and we think you should too. Credentials and education play a critical role in your advisor’s competence. There are hundreds of designations in the financial services field, and some are more applicable to your needs than others.

The J2 Capital Management team holds a variety of credentials, including the CFP® certification, which requires comprehensive education and experience. As a firm, we pursue education and credentials because of how dedicated we are to providing unparalleled client service.

Use a designation-check database to learn more about the credentials financial advisors can earn, and ask the advisors you are researching what they do to continually hone their skills and stay up to date in the industry. 

3. What Is Your Planning and Investment Philosophy?

It’s important to work with an advisor who shares a planning and investing philosophy similar to your own. Does your advisor stick to a scientific, evidence-based approach? Do they believe in buy-and-hold or do they move to cash when the market looks shaky? Talk with an advisor about how they guide clients’ investing and financial decisions. 

At J2 Capital Management, we know that a sound asset allocation strategy is a key factor in building a confident financial future. Our investment strategies are customized to your unique goals and needs so you can maximize your growth while safeguarding your wealth.

4. How Much Do You Charge?

Financial planning and investment costs can be confusing. And too often financial advisors don’t readily disclose their fees. As fee-only advisors, our clients always know what they’re paying and what they’re receiving for their money. We want our clients to feel comfortable with their strategies and confident that there are no hidden fees eating away at their hard-earned savings.

5. Who Do You Serve?

Some financial advisors focus on serving a specific demographic or level of investable assets, so you’ll want to find this out before choosing an advisor. Why is this important? Because you deserve advice and services tailored to your unique needs. 

Our clients are high-net-worth individuals, which means they don’t have the same financial concerns as many other people. They don’t panic when the market shifts and they don’t worry about tracking expenses. They need an advisor who will speak to where they are at, not dole out basic financial principles. At J2 Capital Management, our team members have unique specializations, such as serving those who are retired, soon to retire, or high-net-worth individuals. Our experience in these areas allows us to give you the advice that can make the most difference in your life.

6. Who Else On Your Team Will Be Working With Me?

At some firms, you may work with multiple financial advisors depending on your appointment time or needs, while other firms may pair you up with one financial advisor with whom you’ll work one-on-one. This is important to know so you can meet the other team members with whom you might be collaborating. 

While you will have a strong relationship with your primary advisor, everyone at J2 Capital Management works as a team to offer you the highest level of service. We spend a lot of time getting to know our clients and their goals, and we strive to put your dreams at the heart of your financial plan. 

7. What Financial Planning Services Do You Offer?

Not all financial advisors can provide comprehensive financial planning. Some cannot sell insurance or securities, such as mutual funds or stocks, if they don’t have the appropriate licenses. Ask a financial advisor what services they provide, whether or not they have a focus, and if they offer a broad spectrum of solutions to meet your needs. When creating a plan together, be sure to ask your advisor why they are recommending particular services and solutions over others.

At J2 Capital Management, our comprehensive services include financial planning, tax/estate planning, investment management, and more. 

8. What Sets You Apart From Other Financial Advisors? 

We know you have plenty of options to choose from, but there are a few things we do differently: 

  1. Over the years, our firm has created proven and reliable systems and processes that we use to help our clients work toward their goals. 
  2. Our advice is tailored to you. We don’t give pat answers but do the legwork to get to know you, your situation, your dreams, and your challenges. As a wealthy individual with a unique career, our specialized touch can make all the difference.
  3. We build our client relationships on integrity, dependability, and accountability. We are passionate about what we do and confident in how we do it. 

9. Do You Offer a Client App?

We believe it’s important to see the big picture and all the moving parts of your financial life. When you decide to work with us, you will have access to the J2 Capital Management App to keep everything organized in one easy place.  

10. How Can I Know if Your Firm Is Right for Me?

When selecting your advisor, the relationship should feel right and you should never feel pressured to make a decision quickly. We offer a complimentary consultation, where you can ask questions, evaluate our processes and services, determine if our personality is a good fit, and give you the information you need to make an informed decision. 

Get Your Questions Answered Today

A financial professional should gladly respond to any questions you have about the process, philosophy, and methods. If you’re unsure where to begin, we encourage you to seek recommendations from friends and family to guide you.

Here at J2 Capital Management, we’re committed to full openness and want our clients to feel at ease collaborating with us and raising questions. If you wish to know more about our responses to these questions or any others, feel free to contact us for an introductory discussion. Schedule a meeting online or reach out to us at info@j2cmonline.com or 248-641-4444.

About John Benedict

John Benedict is CEO, investment advisor representative, and portfolio manager at J2 Capital Management, a boutique financial advisory firm specializing in in-house custom financial planning, tax, estate, and investment management. With over 20 years of experience, John is passionate about helping clients navigate uncertain markets, reduce risk, and plan for a sound future. John combined his talents and passion in statistics and technical analysis to create J2’s tactical strategies, managing them since the beginning of the organization. He is known for being a visionary and continually looking for ways to improve J2’s services and strategies to better serve his clients. John graduated from Central Michigan University with a degree in business administration and finance, and his thoughts on markets and technical analysis have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Investment News, and on Moneyshow.com. He was also a contributor to the book The StockTwits Edge: 40 Actionable Trade Set-Ups from Real Market Pros. 

When he’s not working, you can find John boating or participating in water sports and spending time with his wife, Janine, and his three children, Jack, Alexis, and Saraphina. To learn more about John, connect with him on LinkedIn. You can also register for his latest webinar on What Makes J2 Capital Management Different From Other Financial Advisors

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