20 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

martinis and your money

20 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

When I was a financial advisor in training, we used to go through a series of roll play scenarios to help us improve our communication skills, and part of the training included practicing potential questions that clients could ask. I personally witnessed dozens of these roll plays and heard the same questions asked over and over again, and if you were to Google “Questions to ask your financial advisor” you would see all of these questions. Some of them are good questions, but I think there are better questions to ask.

For today’s podcast, I asked Eric Roberge, Founder of Beyond Your Hammock to join me and discuss some of the questions we think clients should ask their advisors or planners. Eric is a financial planner like me who is focused on serving a younger client base than most traditional advisors, so I knew he would have some non-traditional suggested questions. Eric and I both agree that there are questions to ask before you start an advisory relationship and questions to ask after it, and we shared both throughout the podcast.

Remember, your relationship with your advisor is very personal and ultimately it surrounds your money, so you want to make sure that you have a comfortable and open relationship from the beginning, and if you don’t find it right away, take your time to meet with other advisors. There are plenty of advisors out there so don’t settle until you find the right one.

What Are We Drinking?

Eric: Dry Grey Goose Martini with a Twist

Shannon: Dirty Hendricks Martini up with Olives

Podcast Notes

Questions to Ask at the Beginning of Your Advisor Relationship

  1. What are your credentials?
  2. How long have you been practicing?
  3. Do you have any professional designations? (Some may be more appropriate than others and if your planner has a designation that you are not familiar with, ask for more information about the training required to get it or look it up online.)
  4. What makes you an expert?
  5. Why do you do what you do?
  6. How do you get paid?
  7. How do you invest your own money?
  8. Do you work with clients like me?
  9. How do you educate your clients?
  10. Is your advisory firm held to a fiduciary standard?
  11. How are you going to communicate with me?
  12. How should I expect to hear from you?
  13. How frequently will we meet formally?
  14. Any other personal questions you want to know. Remember this is like dating and the personal information should flow in both directions

Questions to Ask During your Advisor Relationship

  1. How are you tracking my progress?
  2. Ask yourself if there’s anything else you can be doing to improve your financial life. Is it you or the advisor that is keeping you from success?
  3. If you see something in your account that doesn’t make sense, call and ask your advisor and don’t wait until a meeting
  4. Do you think we should be doing something different based on X,Y,Z scenario in the world?
  5. Before making medium sized to large financial decisions, ask your advisor’s opinion first
  6. Before you make major life changes, ask your advisor how it may impact your progress toward goals
Random Three Questions
  1. Your company name is Beyond Your Hammock, where would you like to ultimately hang your hammock?
  2. What is a bucket list item you would like to accomplish sooner than later?
  3. If you had $10,000 what would you do with it?
Do you work with a financial advisor? Why or why not? What questions do you think people should ask their advisor?
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Shannon is a financial planner who left a “traditional” financial services firm to start her own company, The Financial Gym, because she felt traditional financial services firms did not have the tools or resources to help people in their 20s and 30s who are starting out and trying to build assets while also managing debt. She realized that the key to long-term personal financial success is a commitment to financial fitness and making smart financial choices. Through her blog, Financially Blonde, her book, Train Your Way To Financial Fitness, her podcast, Martinis and Your Money and The Financial Gym, Shannon is committed to making financial fitness fun, easy and accessible for everyone.


  1. Asking how the adviser gets paid and how they invest their own money are great questions. You don’t want to risk a conflict of interest if they get paid more to sell you certain products. And, of course, no one cares about your money like you do, so seeing if the adviser takes their own advice is key!

  2. Really enjoyed the podcast. I never thought that an financial would have a script and take my financial ignorance in account of how to land me as a client. There has to be other people out there like me who would walk in an financial advisors office and just because they have a certificate on the wall, assume that they know what they are talking about. Learned a lot and had no idea about the variation of how a financial advisor collects his or hers fees. Also the importance to make sure your advisor is actually sticking to the plan.

  3. I haven’t had a financial advisor yet. But, I am willing to get help from one as I know he would just lead me to the right path and makes me realize how to get out of debt easily. The first question I am gonna ask is “What makes my situation different compared with others?” The question goes on.

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