Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor When Starting Out

First Seacoast Bank • January 19, 2023
Woman speaking with her financial advisor on her computer.

Taking control of your finances and working toward your goals sometimes means knowing when outside help, like from a financial advisor, is beneficial. These individuals are trained to help you create long-term plans for building wealth and managing risk and can help you manage your investment portfolio. Just like your saving goals are never one size fits all, the same can be said when it comes to finding the right person to work with.

If you’re considering hiring a financial advisor and are unsure where to start, you’re not alone. The process can be daunting, but we’re here to help you. Here are our top questions to ask a financial advisor before hiring one to ensure your values are aligned.

What Will Our Working Relationship Look Like?

Time is limited for many of us due to work, family, or other commitments, so it’s important to know from the start how much access you’ll have to your advisor. This includes not only figuring out when you can meet, but how. Do they prefer to work in person, or are they open to a virtual meeting, whether over the phone or via video chat? What kind of communication can you expect outside of your meetings? On top of that, you’ll also want to make sure their approach aligns with yours. This means knowing how much of a role you want to play in the decision-making process, whether that be hands-on or letting your financial advisor take the lead. Whatever you feel comfortable with, so long as they’re on the same page.

What Services Do You Provide? How Will You Track My Investment Performance?

Financial advisors help with a variety of wealth management services, such as:

  • Retirement planning
  • Portfolio management
  • Investment strategies
  • Insurance strategies
  • Business retirement plans
  • College planning

You’ll want to make sure that whoever you work with has both experience and expertise to meet your immediate and future needs. Similarly, you want to make sure that you have someone who understands the importance of a diversified portfolio; asking them how they’ll track your investment will provide you the insight you need to see if they can meet that goal.

What Does Your Professional Experience Look Like?

Financial advisors might not have started in the role they have now, so knowing the path they took to get there can be helpful. They might have other experiences that give them unique insights and can better help you meet your financial goals. For example, maybe they started off as a teacher or have a managerial background; this could help make them a better partner for you in the long run. You’ll also want to double-check that they have the necessary industry certifications. You can easily check this via Form ADV or BrokerCheck at

What Are My Costs and How Will You Get Paid?

You could say this is one of the most important questions to ask a financial advisor before you get started. There are a few different fee structures they could use, whether that be taking a percentage of the assets they’ll manage, an hourly rate, or a flat fee. You’ll also need to know if there are any other fees you’ll need to pay outside of the agreed upon compensation.

Other Questions to Ask a Financial Advisor

While this list is a great starting point, some other questions you could ask include:

  • How do you take into account my assets that you aren’t managing?
  • Do you have CPAs or attorneys that help you?
  • Are there any additional resources I will have access to if I work with you?
  • Are there any taxes I’ll need to pay if I work with you?
  • Who is your custodian?

There’s no right or wrong question to ask when trying to find a financial advisor. Be sure to ask any and all questions that help you feel comfortable working with them for the long term.

First Seacoast Bank Helps Plan for a Strong Financial Future

As First Seacoast Bank, our wealth management team is dedicated to helping you take the steps you need to meet your financial goals. To learn more about our services, or set up a free, no-obligation consultation, contact us today.