If you were asked to describe a good financial advisor, what would your response be? Based on our experiences over the years, let me go out on a limb here and say that the most popular responses are likely to be from among the below.
- Someone who is trust-worthy, whom I can trust with my money
- Someone who is available to me for advice when I need and has my interests at heart
- Someone who will make my money grow at a decent pace while also ensuring that it is safe
Of course, there could be other responses, do add them in the comments section below. That said, if I am right till here, let me turn around and tell you that these expectations are rather basic and should describe any financial advisor worth his or her salt. I fact, these above “virtues” should be basic minimum expectations for anyone to qualify as a financial advisor. After all, why would you even consider using the services of someone who is not trustworthy or not available when you need or not competent?
So, what then actually makes a good, rather “really good” financial advisor? In my view, a truly good financial advisor will have the qualities of these professionals as well!
A doctor diagnoses ailments basis visible symptoms, necessary reports and probing, identifies them as chronic, acute or placebic (imaginary), and treats accordingly.
Similarly, a good financial advisor should be able to unpeel your personal finance onion layer by layer to identify your money problems so that the right approaches can be used to put them in order.
Just as an accountant helps you put and keep your books in order, as well as plan and stick to a budget, a financial advisor helps you understand your personal financial balance sheet and profit-loss statement, co-creates a plan with you to nurse them back to health and helps you execute a budget for your household.
A designer-architect understands your personal desires and aspirations and helps you accordingly build a home that feels like yours and only yours.
In the same way, a financial advisor understands your personal financial goals, helps you prioritize them and works with you to construct your own castles.
A financial advisor is your personal money police and helps you stay on the right side of your plan and budget, while also reading you the riot act once in a while when you step out of line!
A financial advisor also is the person who you will run to in case of any doubtful or poor experience with your money, to seek advice on damage control as well as salvage.
A lawyer helps you interpret the rules or the laws specific to your problem and finds a way to solve your problem for you within the available space to your best advantage.
Just like a good lawyer, a financial advisor always has your interests as paramount and protects them at all costs, even if you are at times being criminal with your money! Though at times she (or he) may not be civil about it!
A psychologist studies people, their thoughts, feelings and behaviors, in an effort to understand the “why” behind people’s actions so that they can help plan appropriate corrective measures.
Likewise, a financial advisor understands you as a person, your relationship with money and your deeper motivations so that his advice is tailored to suit you as a person. At times he also gently corrects you when you are making common behavioral mistakes with your money.
Last but never the least, a teacher is someone who imparts knowledge and wisdom to her students, feels pride at their successes and then selflessly moves on to the next batch, ready to start the journey all over again.
A financial advisor too helps you move along the path of “personal financial wisdom” from safety to security to freedom, is there with you to celebrate your small wins at every step and when finally, your financial goals get achieved, feels proud to have helped make it happen.
So, if you have a financial advisor, how many of the above qualities does he or she have? And if you don’t have one as yet, use the above as benchmarks to set your expectations so that you select the right one!
Finwise is a personal finance solutions firm that helps both NRI and resident individuals and families plan for their financial goals, follow their passions and achieve financial independence.
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