Get Started

Steps to Take

  • Schedule an introductory meeting
    Call: 612.617.6049
    Email: Andy.Tate@northstarfinancial.com
  • Complete necessary paperwork to begin process
  • Identify tentative future meeting schedule

Ten Questions to ask your Financial Professional

1

What experience do you have?

Find out how long the professional has been in practice. Ask the professional to briefly describe the companies they have worked for and how their work experience relates to their current practice.

 

2

What are your qualifications?

One of the services we offer is fee-based financial planning. The term “financial planner” is used by many financial professionals. Ask the planner what qualifies him/her to offer “financial planning advice” and whether he is recognized as a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional or CFP® practitioner, a Certified Public Accountant-Personal Financial Specialist (CPA-PFS), or a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC). Look for a planner who has proven experience in financial planning topics such as insurance, tax planning, investments, estate planning or retirement planning. Determine what steps the planner takes to stay current with changes and developments in the financial planning field. If the planner holds a financial planning designation or certification, check on his background with CFP Board or other relevant professional organizations.

Separate from the financial plan and our role as financial planner, we may recommend the purchase of specific investment or insurance products or accounts. These product recommendations are not part of the financial plan and you are under no obligation to follow them.

 

3

What services do you offer

The services financial professionals offer depend on a number of factors including credentials, licenses and areas of expertise. Generally, financial professionals must be properly licensed or registered in order to sell insurance or securities products such as mutual funds or stocks. Some professionals offer financial planning advice, but do not assist clients with the selection, implementation or management of financial products. Other legal and tax professionals may provide advice specific to their respective specialty, e.g. estate planning or tax matters.

 

4

What is your approach to providing a comprehensive financial strategy?

Ask the financial professional about the type of clients and financial situations they typically like to work with. Some professionals prefer to work comprehensively, while others provide advice on sub-specialty areas, as needed. Make sure your advisor’s perspective is consistent with your expectations. Determine if the professional will assist you with the implementation of financial recommendations, or if other professionals will become involved.

 

5

Will you be the only person working with me?

Financial professionals sometimes work in a team format. You may want to meet everyone who will be working with you. Many times it will be necessary to refer professionals in other specialties. For example: attorneys, insurance agents, mortgage brokers, tax specialists, etc. Ask how services in these related areas may or may not be coordinated.

 

6

How will I pay for your services?

Financial professionals should clearly communicate up-front how they may be compensated for their work with you. Ask for this information in writing and you should clearly understand how they will be paid for the services to be provided. Financial professionals can be paid in several ways:

  • Salary paid by the company for which the professional works. The employer receives payment from you and/or others, either in fees and/or commissions. The employer pays the employee a salary.
  • Fees based on an hourly rate, a flat rate, or on a percentage of your assets and/or income.
  • Commissions and/or fees paid by a third party from the products sold to you to carry out the financial recommendations. Commissions are usually a percentage of the amount you invest in a product.
  • A combination of fees and commissions whereby fees are charged for the amount of work done to develop financial planning recommendations and commissions are received from any products sold. In addition, some professionals may offset some portion of the fees you pay if they receive commissions/fees for carrying out their recommendations.

This is generally how it works in the industry. For Andy and Ben, we will be paid based on the business (product or service) that we provide you. For our financial planning business we will be paid a (flat or hourly) fee. For our investment management will be paid a fee tied to the assets you have with us. For product sales (e.g. mutual funds, life insurance, annuities), we will receive a commission.

 

7

How much do you typically charge?

While the amount you pay a professional will depend on your particular needs, the financial professional should be able to provide you guidelines so you can estimate possible costs based on what work they usually perform. Such costs should include the planner’s hourly rates, flat fees and percentages received by fee and/or commission on products you may purchase as part of the financial recommendations.

 

8

Could anyone besides me benefit from your recommendations?

Some financial professionals have affiliated business relationships which could potentially affect objectivity and professional judgment. You should be informed up-front of any and all potential conflicts of interest that may arise in a service engagement. A financial services and product summary statement should be provided in writing to all prospective clients. For example, financial professionals who sell insurance policies or securities.e.g. long-term disability insurance and/or mutual funds will have a business relationship with certain companies providing these financial products. The professional may also have relationships or partnerships that should be disclosed to you, such as business she receives for referring you to an insurance agent, accountant or attorney for implementation of financial recommendations.

 

9

Have you ever been publicly disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your professional career?

Several government and professional regulatory organizations, such as Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), your state insurance and securities departments, and CFP Board, keep records on the disciplinary history of financial planners and financial advisers. Ask what organizations the advisor is regulated by and contact these groups to conduct a background check.

 

10

Can I have it in writing?

Ask the Financial Professional to provide you with a written agreement that details the services that will be provided. Keep this document in your files for future reference.