Questions To Ask When Interviewing A Financial Advisor

When answering a prospective clients questions about my financial planning firm, I was reminded how difficult it is to interview a financial planner. Asking the right questions is important, but so is knowing what the answers mean. The terms “financial planner”, “financial advisor”, and “financial planning” are not protected by any type of regulation, so every professional has their own interpretation of what it means to be a financial services provider. Some financial advisors are not advisors at all, but merely salesmen using the term “advisor” to fool their customers into thinking they are clients. Others may only provide investment management, insurance products, or another singular focused service.

What questions should you ask when interviewing a financial planner?
NAPFA, the largest national organization of fee-only financial planners, has put together a wonderful guide with 26 questions to ask every financial advisor you interview. Feel free to send these questions to financial planners you are considering interviewing, so that you don’t waste your time interviewing service providers that don’t meet your needs.

Click here to download the guide

Before selecting a financial advisor, you should have the answer to every single question in this guide. Most importantly however, read through the “Answer Key” on pages 9-11. This key will give you some context about each question, so that you know what the financial advisors answers really mean. Many financial service providers are great salesmen, and can make things sound much better (or different) than they really are. Stick to this guide, get all of the questions answered, and you will be armed with the knowledge you need to hire a financial planner.

In my opinion, the most important question in this guide is Question 9

Question 9:
Will you sign the Fiduciary Oath below?
Yes _____
No   _____

The advisor shall exercise his/her best efforts to act in good faith and in the best interests of the client. The advisor shall provide written disclosure to the client prior to the engagement of the advisor, and thereafter throughout the term of the engagement, of any conflicts of interest which will or reasonably may compromise the impartiality or independence of the advisor. The advisor, or any party in which the advisor has a financial interest, does not receive any compensation or other remuneration that is contingent on any client’s purchase or sale of a financial product. The advisor does not receive a fee or other compensation from another party based on the referral of a client or the client’s business.

What the Fiduciary Oath means to you – the client
• I shall always act in good faith and with candor.
• I shall be proactive in my disclosure of any conflicts of interest that may impact you.
• I shall not accept any referral fees or compensation that is contingent upon the purchase or sale of a financial product.


Although many advisors will tell you they will act in your best interest, only a small percentage of them would be willing to print and sign the above oath on company letterhead.

Don’t forget to check up on your financial advisor – Video Guide

You worked very hard to get to where you are today financially. Don’t just turn over your finances to an advisor before you have all the facts.

Have you ever asked your financial advisor these questions? Would your financial planner sign the Fiduciary Oath? Are there any additional questions you think should be added to the guide? Feel free to share your thoughts!

About the author

Alan Moore, CFP®, MS

Alan is passionate about providing individualized financial advice to individuals and families, regardless of their net worth, income or investable assets. An educator at his core, he strives to serve as his clients’ guide, available to help with the sometimes stressful or exciting financial situations that life inevitably brings.

Alan is the founder of Serenity Financial Consulting, which he started after noticing the lack of hourly, as-needed financial planning advice available to consumers. With experience working in several nationally recognized firms including Kahler Financial Group and Financial Service Group, Alan combines his industry experience and technical knowledge with his entrepreneurial spirit and penchant for teaching others to create a refreshing style of truly personal financial planning.

Alan is a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and Certified Retirement Counselor™. He earned his bachelor’s degrees in Family Financial Planning and Consumer Economics and his Master’s Degree in Family Financial Planning from the University of Georgia. Driven by his desire to educate, Alan also taught undergraduate financial planning courses while in graduate school.

Alan prides himself on being active in his community and feels privileged to have served in the Georgia National Guard for four years before receiving an honorable discharge. Originally from Georgia, Alan now lives in Shorewood with his wife Melissa, and enjoys taking advantage of the abundance of activities that Milwaukee has to offer.

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