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Levin: Why you need to ask questions of your financial adviser

Spend Your Life Wisely / July 28, 2019

By: Ross Levin, CFP®

A new client recently was asking many questions in a meeting, ending with one about whether there are ways to see their account directly from the brokerage firm in addition to the portal that we provide. He said, “As a lawyer, I like to double check everything.” And he ended by saying, “I trust you enough to ask this of you.” This got me thinking about gifts that occur in a reciprocal planning relationship.

Trust your adviser enough to ask questions. Your adviser may have more experience or technical knowledge, but there is no one on Earth who understands you better than you understand yourself. Don’t worry about things you “should” know. Most people don’t have a sense of what they really are spending, are not clear on how they want to deal with money issues within the family, and often don’t have direct experience with such things as taxes, investing, or estate planning. Rather than shy away from asking questions, trust your adviser to give thoughtful answers. If the answers are not ones with which you feel comfortable, ask again until you do. Sometimes advisers may give a bad answer because they misunderstood the question. Sometimes they may use terms with which you are not familiar. And sometimes their answers are bad because they don’t have a really good one. Ask enough questions to get comfortable, and if you are never comfortable, then trust yourself on that.

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This article originally appeared in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on July 28, 2019.