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Not all financial advisers are created the same. Make sure to do your due diligence before you commit to a working relationship.
Finding the right professional to guide your financial future can be tricky. Here are some ways to make it easier.
1. Don't search solely for an adviser who only works with physicians. You want someone familiar with clients like you, but you're more than just a physician. Say your spouse is a corporate executive with stock options or a defined benefit pension, or you want to blend your emotional values with your financial plan - there's an adviser for that. One example: Check out www.lifeplanningforyou.com.
2. Ask to see a potential adviser's letter of engagement well before you intend to sign on the dotted line. Compare it with the other finalists. Does it acknowledge a fiduciary duty to put your interests ahead of the firm's?
3. If you're interviewing a financial adviser who is paid a percentage of portfolio assets annually, ask for a typical weighted expense ratio of the underlying mutual funds or exchange-traded funds used in portfolios. Then once you are a client and have designed a portfolio, ask again for your all-in fees and expenses in addition to the advice fees.
4. If you're within 10 years of retirement and envision working with this person ideally for the rest of your life, ask about his or her retirement income plans. Does he have one? Is it a ballpark rule of thumb, a robust decision-rules method or a computer algorithm-based strategy? The retirement of the baby boom generation has spurred a flurry of research on dynamic withdrawal strategies aimed to more surely survive even a very long lifespan. Make sure your adviser has a strategy for this.