Choosing a financial planner is a huge decision. You are entrusting them with your personal fortune and depending on them to help protect, preserve, and grow your nest egg for you and your family. Building trust, having good personal chemistry and wanting to work together are critical components to having a successful long-term relationship. As we’ve talked with prospective clients who become clients, we believe it’s really important that you ask and are completely comfortable with the answers to the following questions:
1. Are you a fiduciary and will you put my best interests before yours?
2. What are your financial planning credentials/designations?
All of us at Financial Freedom are Certified Financial Planner™ professionals. We believe this credential is a minimum requirement. Additionally, we all have Bachelor’s degrees and founder, Al Osgood Sr. has an MBA degree.
3. How long has your wealth management firm been offering financial planning services?
Financial Freedom has been providing Fee-Only Wealth Management Services for 36 years.
4. How are you compensated? Will I receive independent and objective advice that isn’t influenced by your compensation?
We are Fee-Only wealth managers which means that the only form of any type of compensation comes directly from our clients. We believe this is the best fee model as it provides our clients independent and objective advice free of any hidden agendas or conflicts of interest. We develop a mutually beneficial annual retainer relationship which focuses on providing both comprehensive financial planning and investment management services.
5. Do you provide a comprehensive written financial plan that analyzes my financial situation with specific recommendations?
Yes, and we update the plan on a regular basis. We believe it is critically important to develop a written comprehensive financial plan that addresses the key areas of wealth management: retirement planning, asset allocation and portfolio management, risk and insurances, cash flow and taxes, college funding, estate planning, and executive compensation benefits. This written plan becomes the “road map” for implementing your future life goals and objectives.
6. Do you provide an annual performance review and hold yourselves accountable?
Yes. As a Wealth Management Firm, we believe that it’s important to review our performance and our relationship on an annual basis to make sure that we are “adding value” to you and your life.
7. Will you provide references?
Absolutely. We believe this is an important part of choosing a financial planner. Please call them and ask them any question or concern you may have. Ask them about trust levels, sense of urgency, meeting commitments, dedication, help with other family members, and any other questions that you may have.
8. Will you or an associate work with me?
We will. We do not believe in “handing off” clients and quite frankly, we want to work with each client directly. We want to be meeting with you at your kitchen table, your lake house, your beach property, or wherever is convenient for you.
9. Do you take custody of my investments?
No. Each client has their own individual accounts in their names only. We recommend that client accounts are custodied at Fidelity Investments.
10. Do you trade in my account without prior approval?
No. We believe that we make the recommendation and you give us the approval to make a change.