Should You Think About Changing Financial Professionals?
You rely on your financial professional to provide experience and expertise to help develop a practical financial plan for you, manage debt and establish an emergency fund, weather market volatility, create a budget, grow your assets, save for the life you want, and invest and plan for retirement — and more.
Let’s reflect on the most recent opportunity for your financial professional to exceed expectations. Now that we are making our way through a market rebound, are you happy with your current financial professional’s ability to help you get through the storm? If you didn’t answer with an enthusiastic “yes!”, you may want to consider whether it’s time for a change. Financial planning is a lifelong commitment, but that’s not the same as blind loyalty to your financial professional. In fact, there are times when, to stay true to your long-term financial goals, you may need to look for a new relationship. The financial professionals at your credit union are here to help you create a plan that works for you, through every stage of life.
Reasons to Consider Changing Your Financial Professional
Changing financial professionals is not a minor decision. You have placed a great deal of trust, along with your money, in their hands. In return, he or she should be consistently working to earn that trust, not only through returns on your investments but also by providing consistent and high-quality access, information, flexibility, and transparency.
No one can predict every market swing, and it’s crucial to assess your gains and losses in a clear-eyed, fair-minded way — not while reacting to sensational headlines, or in response to your friend’s exaggerated claims of huge returns — before taking steps to cut ties. Consider these questions:
- Is your money working as hard as it should? Of course, the goal of working with a financial professional is to see your overall position strengthen over time and be able to weather the ups and downs of the market. No one, not even the shrewdest investor, knows what the future holds, so it’s important to assess your portfolio against a reasonable goal — but consistent underperformance points to a problem. As you consider this, take into account your personal risk tolerance and market conditions. A good financial professional should communicate clearly with you, helping you feel confident about these factors.
- Are costs and fees acceptable? Your financial professional should be working with your best interests in mind and finding the most cost-effective approaches to achieving your goals. If fees are eating away too much of your returns, you may want to explore other options.
The above factors are the most straightforward, money-focused reasons for considering a change in financial professionals. But what about the human factors? Even when markets are up and investments are earning strong returns, it’s possible for a financial professional to underperform on the job — and if so, it could be time for a change. Maybe it’s time to ask:
- Have you heard from your financial professional lately? Especially when markets are volatile, a solid financial professional knows the importance of reaching out to communicate, to ensure you understand what’s happening, and to advise on any actions you may need to take.
- What happens when you call your financial professional? Do you worry that you’re a bother? Does the call go to voicemail every time? Conversations with your financial professional should not cause dread, and you should come away feeling that you have been heard.
- When your life changed, did your plan change, too? Did you recently add a family member? Send a child off to college? Marry or divorce? Big life changes should spur changes in your plan. Your financial professional should help you adapt and flex your financial plan to meet your changing needs.
- How does your financial professional respond when you need more explanation? Transparency and trust go hand in hand. If you need more information to fully understand a decision and to feel confident moving forward, your financial professional should be happy to make sure you have a crystal-clear understanding of the details.
- Are you a portfolio, or a person? If you get the sense that your financial professional fails to care about or get to know the real human behind the financial plan, then why is he or she your planner? Money, after all, is the means to an end — and the long-term goal is a life well lived.
At your credit union, you’re more than a number, or an account or portfolio. You’re a whole person, with individual goals and challenges, and the financial professional located at your credit union is here to help you create a plan to build the life you want.