It’s the first podcast of 2015! Brian and Bo are kicking off the New Year by giving out valuable advice on what to look for in a financial professional — be it a tax preparer, insurance agent, or financial advisor.
These are services nearly everyone uses (or should use!), and it’s important to connect with a financial professional who can actually provide value.
The guys walk you through the important questions to ask each of these individuals in order to make sure they’re in the right position to help you. This episode will also provide you with a better idea of how to vet each one so that you end up a happy client.
What Should You Look for in a Tax Preparer?
Brian tackles this question right off the bat, citing a wonderful article written by Kelly Phillips on Forbes: 11 Questions To Ask When Hiring a Tax Preparer.
Brian goes through a few of these questions and offers his perspective:
- Knowing your tax preparer’s tax background sounds like a no-brainer, but you want to find out if they specialize in your situation.
- Your tax preparer should be well aware of the intricacies of the credits and deductions offered by your state and local government. (Make sure your tax preparer will check on these things if you’re hiring one out-of-state.)
- What do you want to get out of the transaction? Are you looking for just a tax preparer, who will have you in and out of the office within an hour? Or are you looking for someone that will also help you with tax planning for the upcoming year? What you need will help you determine which professional is right for you.
What Should You Look for in an Insurance Agent?
Everyone needs insurance of some kind — there’s no way around that. So how can we make sure we end up with a respectable insurance agent who is only recommending products that will truly benefit us?
Bo and Brian acknowledge that Amica, USAA, and Auto Owners are the three leading property and casualty insurance companies according to Consumer Reports. If you’re not with one of these companies, seek out an agent who will look out for you in the following ways:
- They set annual reminders to check-in with you to see if you’ve gone through any big life changes recently.
- They look for holes in your insurance coverage. (You want to make sure your agent is truly looking out for your best interests!)
- They are well-established and have a history of success, as they will be less likely to recommend products based on commission.
What to Look for in a Financial Advisor
The guys also touch on what characteristics your financial advisor should have, and what questions you can ask them to make sure they’re a good fit for you.
You should always look for someone willing to work with you as your fiduciary. This means they always put your interests ahead of all others, including their own.
Bo and Brian also suggest asking the following before hiring an advisor to help you manage your finances:
- What type of advisor are they? How do they receive compensation?
- What is their motivation behind their recommendation? Are there conflicts of interest?
- What’s the value proposition? (You shouldn’t pay a dime to anyone if you’re not getting value out of it.)
- What’s their wealth management philosophy?
What to Do If You Need a Financial Professional on Your Side
Always do your due diligence and don’t be afraid to ask questions when looking for a financial pro to help you with various money issues. The right professional will make you feel comfortable and put your needs and interests ahead of anything else.
Could you use help from a financial advisor? You can always reach out to the Money Guys to help get you on the right track — Bo and Brian are currently accepting new clients.