What Do You Really Know About Your Financial Advisor? What Should You Know?

What Do You Really Know About Your Financial Advisor? What Should You Know?

Before you see a doctor, be it for a routine checkup or a major surgery, chances are you asked a few questions – and likely, they were some pretty direct questions. Afterall, it’s your health and well-being that’s at stake. Now I ask you this: Why should this be any different when it comes to your financial health and well-being?

As a financial advisor in Santa Rosa, CA and founder of Montgomery Taylor Wealth Management, I’m shocked at how little people often know about their financial advisor. This person will have a direct effect on when you can retire (if at all), how you can retire and what you’re able to leave to the next generation (if anything). That’s a lot that’s at stake! 

Many investors hire a financial advisor based on a recommendation from a friend or family member. This can be a great time-saver, but what do you really know about this person? You may know that he or she is a financial advisor in Santa Rosa, CA, and you may know that he or she helped someone you care about. But is your financial situation similar to your friend’s or family member’s? Does the financial advisor have experience helping clients like you? Can he or she help you with tax planning, estate planning and your retirement? 

In my decades of experience helping families in and around Sonoma County plan for the future, I’ve seen so many people who need help correcting mistakes that were either made on their own or because of advice that didn’t work for them. This situation is becoming more prevalent in the age of the Internet. Like most situations, it’s easier to make the right decisions the first time than to go back and try to correct a decision that may not have made sense. These mistakes can be costly and sometimes, they can’t be undone. 

If you’re in the market to hire a financial advisor in Santa Rosa, CA, or you’re looking to change the one you have, I ask you to do your homework. Financial advice is not one-size-fits-all. Experience, training and even pay structure all matter. Each can be profoundly different from advisor to advisor, and each can have a major impact on your financial health.

 

Who is Montgomery Taylor?

 

Credentials

The term “financial advisor” (or some equivalent term, such as financial planner, wealth manager, financial coach and so on) can be used without any particular certification. But a certification does exist in the industry. For example, does your financial advisor hold the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation, considered the standard of excellence in the world of financial planning?

To obtain this designation, a financial advisor is required to take and pass courses relevant to financial planning (on investments, education planning, risk management, insurance, tax planning, retirement planning, estate planning and regulations), act in accordance with the standards of conduct set by the CFP Board, and ultimately pass the CFP Board exam. CFPs must also present proof that they have completed a four-year college degree.

While the CFP designation is a great place to start, there are many other designations that can tell you about a financial advisor’s education, experience and specialties. For example, I’m a CFP CPA – the first Certified Financial Planner/Certified Public Accountant in Sonoma County. What this means is that at Montgomery Taylor Wealth Management, we’re able to help you not only with your tax preparation and tax planning but how taxes can help with your overall wealth management. This presents many perks.

Taxes are an integral part of financial planning. Taxation can affect how much you take home and how much you can save, and have major effects on your retirement planning and your estate.

A lot of people work with a Certified Financial Planner and a CPA. Having them under the same roof (or in the same person) can offer a streamlined advantage.

 

Looking for a financial advisor? Want a second opinion? Schedule a no-obligation conversation with the team at Montgomery Taylor Wealth Management to see how we can help.

 

Business Model

A financial advisor’s business model makes a huge difference. Does your financial advisor work on commission, which can present possible conflicts of interest if they benefit from recommending certain products, or will they serve as your fiduciary, having a legal responsibility to put clients’ best interest first? 

At Montgomery Taylor Wealth Management, we follow a fiduciary standard. 

Investors are often surprised to learn that not all financial advisors follow this standard. 

When looking for a financial advisor to work with, ask if they follow the fiduciary standard. And get the answer in writing.

 

Why These Details are Important to Know

Knowing your financial advisor’s credentials, experience and pay structure can help you feel confident with your financial plan. As a CPA and a Certified Financial Planner in Santa Rosa, CA, I’m often asked to help with either a client’s taxes or their wealth management. While we’re happy to help with whatever you need, there are major benefits to having both areas met by the same firm. For one, there’s less of a chance for something to slip through the cracks!

At Montgomery Taylor Wealth Management, we’re in the unique position to be able to help you with:

  • Cashflow management
  • Investment management
  • Retirement planning
  • Risk management
  • Tax planning
  • Estate planning 

For more on what this looks like, visit our website or schedule a no-strings-attached conversation with our team.

 

When To Make a Change

When do you know if you need a financial advisor – or need a different one? 

Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • Do you have questions about your retirement funds or how to incorporate tax planning?
  • Have you undergone a major life event, such as marriage, the birth of a child, divorce or even receiving an inheritance?
  • Are you curious how your tax situation affects your overall wealth management?
  • Are you unsatisfied with your portfolio’s performance?
  • Are you confused about the investment strategies you’re incorporating into your plan?
  • Is your current advisor hard to get ahold of? Or, if you’re currently handling your financial planning and tax planning on your own, do you wish you had someone you could contact for advice? 

No one bats an eye when you ask for a second opinion about your physical and mental health and well-being, and the same should be true when it comes to your financial health. Don’t let the fear of an uncomfortable situation stop you from getting the financial planning you deserve. A second opinion can validate you’re on the right track, or identify areas that can make a big difference! 

 

Montgomery Taylor Realistic Financial Planning