Five Questions Everyone Should Ask When Looking for a Financial Advisor

FIC admin |

When looking for a financial advisor, be sure to ask these five question. 

1. How do you charge for services?

Not all fee structures are created equal. Look for a firm committed to serving your best interest financially.

2. What are your obligations to me?

Financial planners work for you. Period. Make sure you partner with a team that is fully committed to serving your financial interests.

3. What will you expect of me?

Financial planning is a two-way street. For a partnership to be effective, you need to know up front what will be expected of you as you move forward.

4. What kind of people work with your firm?

Different firm structures are for different people. Therefore, understanding the characteristics that lead to effective partnerships is important when planning your next financial move.

5. What services do you provide?

Knowing the full capabilities of a financial partner should guide your financial opportunities.


What are Family Investment Center's answers to these five questions? We're glad you asked. 

1. How do you charge for services?

We offer two distinct, Fee-Only® services to our clients.

With our Financial Planning Services, we calculate your annual fee based on family income, type of income, tax complexity and net worth. You pay the first half of your annual fee when you hire us and the second half approximately halfway through the first year of your engagement.

An open retainer agreement means you are free to call us or schedule a meeting at any time on any financial issue and there will be no additional charge for the extra meeting(s). The logic behind this arrangement is simple: each year you have to put your pen down on your checkbook and rehire us. If we have not provided value during the previous year, you can choose not to rehire us. And we really appreciate getting rehired!

We may refer you to outside vendors and/or product specialists to help you with the implementation of your planning needs. We accept no referral fees or compensation of any kind from these people and/or companies. Our referral is only based on our belief that they will be of assistance to you.

Under our Portfolio Analysis and Investment Implementation Services, when we manage money for you directly, an asset management fee applies. This annual fee equates to 1% of assets under management, or less in some cases, depending on the size of the relationship and specific services provided. These fees are deducted on a quarterly basis and are calculated based on the market value of the portfolio at the end of the preceding quarter.

2. What are your obligations to me?

At Family Investment Center, we are obligated to serve as your fiduciary – treating your money with the same care and prudence that we would treat our own. We are obligated to have no allegiance to any company, product, or service beyond our belief in its ability to achieve your goals. We are obligated to treat your financial information in strict confidentiality. We are obligated to treat you with respect, professionalism, honesty, and to maintain a nonjudgmental attitude toward the goals and information you present to us. We are obligated to deliver important advice, even if it may create discomfort in the short-term.

We will uphold the highest standards of care in the industry by espousing and practicing: Objectivity, Fairness, Suitability, Full Disclosure, Confidentiality, Integrity, Honesty, Professionalism, Competence, and Regulatory Compliance. Your unique plan will be created using only the tools in our toolbox that add value for your situation. Together, we will function as architect and builder of your plan of action.

Additionally, we will freely make available the wisdom we have acquired through years of experience as the opportunity arises.

3. What will you expect of me?

As a client of ours, we expect you to be honest and forthcoming about your personal and professional goals, and about your current financial situation. Financial planning is personal, so we will ask you to share with us data and issues that you may not share with anyone but your family. Specifically, we expect you to share your personal financial data and financial history with us, and to deliver relevant documents upon request.

We believe that a terrific financial plan requires a commitment of time from you and that a team approach to financial planning is the most successful for our clients. We expect you to keep us informed in a timely manner about important changes that will have a significant effect on your financial and personal life. We always ask that you carefully review all communications and statements from Family Investment Center, Inc. immediately and promptly report any errors to us and/or ask for clarification about anything you do not understand.

We ask that you give us at least 24-hour notice for any cancellation or delay.

If at any time you find that we are speaking in terms you don’t understand, we ask that you make us aware of it and request clarification. We ask that if you are reluctant to follow our advice, and/or if you don’t feel confident in our motives and advice, that you contact us immediately.

Because the key element in maximizing a financial plan is giving it a chance to work, you must be willing to allow it a reasonable amount of time to produce results. When an element of the plan needs to change, it is changed through the planning process.

4. What kind of people work with your firm?

Over the years, we have found that our firm works most effectively with people who share some or all of the following characteristics:

  • A desire to live a more meaningful life.
  • A pledge to shift behavior if it furthers long term goals.
  • Realistic investment objectives and a willingness to communicate expectations.
  • Confidence in our advice and a commitment to ignoring financial noise.
  • Willingness to accept investment returns offered by the market, recognizing that there is no foolproof way to achieve above-average performance.
  • Recognition that we don’t have all the answers, and that financial planning and investing – like life – is not an exact science.

5. What services do you provide?

We provide both financial planning and portfolio analysis and investment implementation services.

Financial Planning

  • Retirement Planning
  • Estate Planning Education & Will (and/or Trust) Facilitation
  • Tax Planning
  • Tax Preparation
  • Cash Management
  • Career Management
  • Business Planning
  • Insurance Review
  • Social Security Planning
  • Education Planning

Portfolio Analysis and Investment Implementation Services

  • Portfolio Analysis and Design
  • Implementation
  • Ongoing Evaluation and Revisions

All services include analysis and forecasting, professional evaluation and advice, specific recommendations, implementation support, a structure for making decisions, and accountability.

And as always, if you have a question ask it! Financial planners work for you. Make sure you partner with a team that is fully committed to serving your financial interests.


Let’s plan for some serious freedom.

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