This week we sat down with Brad Boyl, a Financial Advisor with Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. This weekend, Brad is taking a break from his financial advisors duties as he heads to Puget Sound to complete the open water part of his Scuba certification. (Brrrrrr!)

Questions 1:  What should people know before going to speak to a financial advisor? What can a financial advisor do for you?

In general, people should have an understanding of where they have their investments and the types of investments they own (Mutual Funds, Stocks, their risk tolerance, etc.).  They should also have a budget and how much they can and will save (in bank accounts, 401ks, IRAs, etc.).  Thirdly, they should have considered their future in regard to their investments (spend it all, pass it on to their heirs, donate it, pay for college, buy a vacation house, establish a trust, to name a few ideas).

Question 2: What’s the hardest thing to explain to clients?

Many times clients are surprised by the volume of money they need to retire and maintain the lifestyle they want.  That can be a difficult conversation.

Question 3:  Are there any changes you’re excited about?

There’s been constant change in our industry!  I’m mostly excited about a shift away from hidden fees and veiled performance numbers.  There has been a much needed shift to transparency, and many tools and investment products have developed allowing investors to manage their investments on their own.  These shifts have made the industry much more efficient and affordable.

Question 4: What shouldn’t a financial advisor be doing?

 Unless they have the proper credentials, a Financial Advisor should not be drafting any trusts or filing taxes for their clients.  Some advisors discuss estate and taxes generally, but they should refer clients to professionals in those specific areas if they see a need.

Question 5: How should you choose a financial advisor?

 I think the most important thing about choosing an advisor is trust.  Do you trust them and have they ever violated that trust?  They should also be able to explain their fees clearly.  If their answer is indirect or convoluted, they may not be the most trustworthy advisor.

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