How Do I Know I’ve Found the Right Retirement Advisor?

Feeling unsure about your financial/retirement advisor? Is he or she the right choice for your needs and goals? Here are ten questions you can ask them yourself to get a better idea of whether or not they’re the right person for you.

  1. What is the advisor’s approach to retirement planning and their process? Is it well   defined and disciplined?
  2. Do they educate you in the retirement planning process? How?
  3. Do they help organize you financially and help clarify your retirement objectives and timeline?
  4. How much time do they commit to working “collaboratively” you and what is the TOTAL fees/value of working with them?
  5. Are they knowledgeable beyond growing a portfolio? What do they know about distribution planning in retirement?
  6. Are they licensed to offer annuities and do they educate you on how they work to offer guarantees and protect your portfolio from loss?
  7. Have they discussed how to use the equity in your home through a reverse mortgage to increase the effectiveness of your retirement plan?
  8. Do they understand how wills and trusts work, and work with you to develop a proper plan to protect your assets from a potential healthcare event?
  9. What other value added services do they offer you?
  10. Do you like them as a person and trust in their recommendations?

Some more questions regarding his or her retirement planning strategies for your portfolio, taxes, Social Security, use of home equity, Medicare, and risk management can include:

    • Portfolio Risk Reduction Strategy – Statistical analysis proves that a portfolio with lower volatility or risk, for any given rate of return, will last longer when taking withdrawals for income. How do you protect my portfolio against volatility and what type of stress testing do you do (it’s critical “stress test” your current retirement against many different market environments to assure you portfolio will survive across both negative and positive environments). Are you licensed to offer both investments and guaranteed income products such as Fixed Indexed Annuities?
    • Tax Efficient Withdrawal Strategy What’s your plan for creating a tax efficient withdrawal strategy for me? Can you show me how this strategy will play out once I’m in retirement and the taxes I’ll save?
    • Social Security Timing Can you show me different Social Security filing strategies and their impact on my overall retirement income plan?
    • Efficient Portfolio Management – What is the make-up of my portfolio and how will it be managed? (Proper portfolio management utilizing a high quality, low-cost portfolio of globally diversified stocks can potentially increase long-term returns. Leading research indicates that combining passively managed Index Funds or ETF’s with alpha generating high quality active investment managers can potentially create positive portfolio alpha effect).
    • Home Equity in Retirement How do you feel about HECM loans as a tool in my retirement tool box? What are the advantages? Disadvantages? (Leading research indicates that the use of home equity in retirement will increase the probability of portfolio survival and increase the legacy to loved ones. HECM Loans or Reverse Mortgages have been called the “Swiss Army Knife” of retirement planning since they can be utilized as part of many diverse retirement planning strategies).
    • Risk ManagementAre you insurance licensed to integrate my insurance needs with my income plan?
    • Medicare Planning – Can you help me understand Medicare and make the right selections for my plan and any additional Medigap coverage I may need?
    • Estate Planning – How do you work with an Elder Care Law attorney to make sure my assets are protected?

And because fees are so important, we recommend using a form like this form to uncover TOTAL fees, and having the advisor sign it.

What is your custodial fee? $ ________________ or ______________%

What are your trading costs? $ _______________or ______________%

What is the advisory fee? (this is the fee that does to the registered investment advisor to manage your portfolio)
$ ______________ or ______________%

What are the internal mutual fund, ETF, money manager fees?

$ ______________ or ______________%

Are there any other fees such as statement fees, technology fees, etc.?

$ ______________ or ______________%

What do your fees include for additional services; i.e. Retirement Planning (make sure you get specifics)?




Advisor Signature  X _________________________________________________


To find out more about how to pick the right advisor for you, or if YRA can satisfy those needs please email us at or call us at: 978.345.7075.