How to Choose the Right Financial Advisor for You
When it comes to planning your financial future, it is important to find the right financial advisor to educate, guide, and protect your future. For some, knowing how to choose the right person can feel overwhelming and intimidating. Whether you have had a bad experience with another advisor or are searching for the first time, you probably have a lot of questions. We want to help you ask the right questions and look for key qualifications, so you feel confident during your search and making a final decision.
Heath Wealth Management guides our clients every step of the way, from the initial interview to careful evaluation of what makes the most sense for their specific circumstances. We utilize a holistic approach to offer what is in the client’s best interests, not our own.
As a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), Elijah Heath is a fiduciary with an ethical obligation to provide information, products, and services in your best interest, not what earns him the best fee or commission. Heath Wealth Management wants to be your advisor for life so you, your children, and your grandchildren all benefit from the relationship.
10 Commonly Asked Questions
Choosing the right financial advisor will give you the confidence you are entrusting your funds to the right person. During your research, check the advisor’s website and look for answers to basic questions regarding their experience, CFP® designation, certifications, and services offered. Use this list of 10 commonly asked questions to guide you as you narrow your search for a qualified financial planner:
1. What are your qualifications and credentials?
There are different terms used by someone offering financial services, such as financial planner or financial advisor, but only a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™(CFP®) is required to remain current with changes in the financial planning field. The CFP® designation means he or she is professionally committed to acting as a fiduciary when providing advice and services to a client. Consider what your specific needs are and whether you benefit from working with a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™.
HWM: Elijah Heath has been a CFP® since 2004. He holds the Series 7, Series 63, and Series 65 securities registrations, all held with LPL Financial. He has earned additional designations through his experience and continuing education, including ChFC® and CLU®, giving him the knowledge to create a customized strategy for his clients.
2. What experience do you have?
Financial advisors can come from a variety of backgrounds that enhance their suitability as your personal advisor. Some advisors may be new to the field while others have decades of experience. CFP® professionals must have at least two years of personal financial planning experience.
HWM: Elijah Heath has been in the industry since 2000, working as a financial advisor and a CFP® professional since 2004. His years of experience, coupled with his plan to remain in the field for the next 25 years, means he plans on helping his clients for a long time.
Elijah knows the unexpected can happen to any of us, so he has additional advisors who can assist his clients in the event something happens to him. Preparation and planning are key to everyone’s financial success and stability.
3. What services do you offer?
There are several factors that determine what services a financial advisor can offer: credentials, licenses, and areas of expertise. Brokerage accounts may be tied to proprietary products versus independent investments that offer non-proprietary products. This can be significant should you ever need to move your funds based on your circumstances. Be sure to ask what products and services your financial advisor can offer. Remember, a fiduciary has an obligation to recommend the best ones for you.
HWM: We offer products and services in three major categories to benefit our clients:
– Insurance: life, disability
– Management: strategies that include savings, estate planning, tax planning, succession planning, mortgages, financial planning for business owners, and business succession planning.
– Retirement: IRAs for individuals and businesses, along with other investment opportunities.
At Heath Wealth Management, we want to take care of our client’s entire financial life, offering the most suitable products and services they need.
4. What is your approach to financial planning?
Comprehensive financial planning covers multiple areas, from insurance to tax planning, through your retirement years and beyond to your heirs. Ask if the advisor can provide these things for you, provide advice on what services you will need, and whether they work with other professionals to implement your individual financial plan.
HWM: We enter a relationship with our clients with the intention of being there for life. We start by ensuring we are a good fit for them, and that they are a good fit for us.
Next, we seek to create a strong financial strategy that:
• Proactively manages and controls debt
• Mitigates current taxes
• Prepares for a stable, comfortable retirement
• Helps prepare for a child’s college education
• Seeks to protect businesses and their employees
• Provides for loved ones in the event of death, disability, or critical illness
Elijah Heath is a fiduciary and is required to act in his client’s best interest when creating their financial plan. He offers scheduled calls and meetings with each client, typically 2-4 times per year. Clients are welcome to call any time, at no extra charge, with questions or changes that have occurred.
5. What types of clients do you typically work with?
Financial advisors may choose to only accept new clients who meet certain criteria, such as assets within a particular range. If you have any unique financial circumstances, be sure to ask whether your advisor typically handles such situations and whether you are the right fit for their services and products.
HWM: Heath Wealth Management works with clients across the US. Elijah Heath typically works with clients referred to him by other business professionals in the legal, CPA (Certified Public Accountant), and tax industries with clients who need financial planning assistance. They see people who have been subjected to poor performance in their financial strategies, have neglected accounts or suffered negative tax implications.
Many clients are older couples where perhaps the husband has been managing their financial accounts and the wife has not been involved. Once the husband realizes the need for a financial planner to assist his wife and heirs when he passes, the couple turns to Elijah for assistance. In some cases, a husband passes, and the widow is referred to HWM knowing she would receive the support she needs. Many families do not like to think about this, but financial disaster can strike if there is a new spouse, grown children who expect financial assistance, or a blended marriage with new demands. These can all impact financial stability.
HWM regularly receives word-of-mouth referrals from existing clients who share their recent phone call or meeting with a friend who realizes they are not getting the support, advice, or results they need from their current financial advisor.
Elijah Heath is a long-term investment planner who builds a quality, long-term portfolio for his clients. His commitment: “If we’re not the right fit, it’s my obligation to find someone who is right for you.”
6. Will you be the only advisor working with me?
Depending on the size of the brokerage or company you choose, your financial advisor may work with you directly or he or she may be part of a team of people. There are advantages and disadvantages to both options, so consider what is most important to you when you have questions or need to make changes. If your advisor works with professionals outside his or her practice, don’t forget to check their experience, certifications, and qualifications.
HWM: Clients can expect to work directly with Elijah Heath, CFP®, and fiduciary. He will assess your contact level preference to schedule regular phone calls and meetings to answer questions, review your strategy, and make sure you are on target with your financial goals.
Elijah knows it can be frustrating to clients when they don’t hear from their advisor – sometimes in years! As a result, their advisor may have even left the business or transferred their account management to another planner. Heath Wealth Management plans to be there for clients for life, building trust and relationships that last.
7. How will I pay for your services?
There are several typical methods to pay for financial advice: fees based on a percentage of your assets, commissions based on the products the advisor sells you, or even a combination of both of those. Another method is a monthly or annual fee. Ask the financial advisor to explain how they will be paid for their services.
HWM: We offer a hybrid approach to fee-based and transaction-style accounts. Fiduciary accounts are generally fee-based. Transaction-style, or brokerage accounts, are commission based per transaction on the account. If a client has a transaction style account and likes it, there is no reason to change it. The type of account should be chosen to best suit each client’s needs. Due to fiduciary responsibilities, Heath Wealth Management will not recommend moving to a fee-based account if the client would accrue extra charges.
There are no proprietary products at HWM, so clients are not tied to HWM for life the way some brokerage-style accounts can operate.
8. How much do you typically charge?
Financial planners should be able to provide you with an estimate based on the services and products used to execute your financial plan.
HWM: Here at HWM we offer a complimentary consultation which includes a financial review and strategy session at no cost to you. We offer a variety of products and services tailored to fit our individual client’s needs. We will never charge additional fees for financial planning, appointments, or phone calls. We want our clients to be comfortable reaching out to us anytime they need our assistance. Our advisory fees vary depending on the level of service and products that we determine are appropriate for your needs. Our fees are transparent and competitive.
9. Do others stand to gain from the financial advice you give me?
Financial advisors may have business relationships to sell products that could be a potential conflict of interest (examples: those who sell insurance policies, securities, or mutual funds). If your advisor is not a fiduciary, obligated to act in your best interest when providing financial advice and recommending products, ask whether there are any potential conflicts.
HWM: Elijah Heath has been a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®) since 2004 and exercises his fiduciary responsibility to only recommend products and services that are in his client’s best interest, not based on his fee or commission from them.
10. Have you ever been publicly disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your career?
You should ask your advisor if he or she has ever been publicly disciplined by any organization that regulates conduct. You can also search for this information through FINRA’s BrokerCheck, the SEC’s Investment Adviser Public Disclosure databases, and the CFP® Board disciplinary history of a CFP® professional with their Verify tool.
HWM: We encourage you to use one of the tools above to check our history. We have never been publicly disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions.
We encourage anyone looking for a financial planner to use this list as a starting point to compare answers to the most common questions asked by people like you.
Heath Wealth Management has shared our answers here to get you started in your search. Call us to learn more, ask questions about your specific circumstances, and determine if we are the right fit for you.
Elijah Heath, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ (CFP®), is a *fiduciary with an ethical obligation to provide information, products, and services in your best interest, not what earns him the best fee or commission. Heath Wealth Management wants to be your advisor for life so you, your children, and your grandchildren all benefit from the relationship.
*Fiduciary services are for advisory relationships only.