Since you started your job, have you ever spoken with your employer-based financial advisor? This advisor, or sponsor, is in charge of making investments for the company’s retirement plan, AKA your retirement plan. If you have the opportunity, request a meeting with your company financial advisor so you can better understand your employee benefits and plan for your future.
Here are some questions to ask your company financial advisor.
1. What is your job title, education level, and specialty?
It’s important to know an advisor’s specialty so you can understand the benefits he/she can offer you. Some advisors develop specialties based on their education or past experience. Retirement, taxes, estate planning, and insurance are a few examples of specialties.
2. How do you handle communication with employees?
Communication is an underrated factor in investing. How often would you see yourself talking to your company’s financial advisor? Every year? Every month? There is no wrong answer; your relationship with your advisor is completely dependent on you. But, no matter how often you want to contact your advisor, it’s a good idea to establish contact information, like an email address, for later inquiries. This is one of the first questions to ask your company financial advisor in your initial meeting.
3. Are you paid on commission?
You don’t need to ask for a dollar amount or percentage; the information you’re looking for is simply whether the advisor’s pay is commission-based or not. This is important because it determines whose interests the advisor is serving. If the advisor gets commission pay, that could mean that he/she gets money for selling a specific product or service, whether it’s a good investment for you or not.
4. Can you personalize my investments?
There are several types of work retirement plans. Some operate like a mutual fund, meaning the employee’s contributions are a large pool of investments managed by the sponsor. Other work retirement plans offer each employee an individual account, which can be customized to the employee’s specifications. If your employer offers options, speak to your personal financial advisor, and he/she can help you decide which plan is right for you.
5. Is there a fee to use your services?
Some company-based financial advisors can charge fees for various services. Be sure to find out if there are fees for setting up meetings or requesting reports.
6. What is the diversification and performance of each investment option?
What investments has the advisor made for your company? Start by discussing the cost of your potential investment, the accounts’ diversification—what different types of investments are included—and the performance of the different investment options.
If you don’t understand the data presented to you, don’t worry. Take the information to your personal financial advisor, and he/she can break the data down for you.
7. What advice do you have for my savings?
Once you get to know your advisor, it’s time to find out what his/her advice is for your portfolio. Many advisors will perform a risk tolerance assessment to determine which types of investments are favorable for you. You can run the advice you receive by your personal financial advisor and see how the strategies compare.
8. Can we meet again after I talk with my financial advisor?
It’s important to make sure that your retirement plan coincides with your financial plan. To do this, you need to communicate with both of your advisors.
After you’ve spoken with your company financial advisor, ask to set up another meeting. In the follow up meeting, you can compare recommendations between your personal financial advisor and ensure everyone is on the same page. If you keep communication constant between both parties, you’ll have a better chance to meet your financial goals. At Lorenz Financial, we’re happy to work with your work-based advisor to help meet your needs.
Your personal financial advisor and your company financial advisor shouldn’t be viewed as two competitors. Using your company financial advisor for your company retirement plan is a good way to take full advantage of the retirement benefits offered to you by your company.
That said, depending solely on your company’s advisor to help you plan for your financial future isn’t wise. This advisor strictly looks at your company retirement plan, not other aspects of your finances (insurance, assets, savings, etc.). Working with a personal financial advisor, on the other hand, is a great way to make sure that all aspects of your finances are working together to help you reach your dream retirement.
Lorenz Financial Services, LLC is a Lafayette, Indiana fiduciary who offers financial planning and portfolio management services. If you have questions about who we are or our services, please contact us at (765) 532-3295 or email us.