On the Fence: Choosing a Financial Advisor as a Family

Written by Jackie Heater

Four years ago, my husband and I purchased a home with a nice large corner lot. The previous owners had put a wood picket fence around the back yard, but it was starting to weather. Of course, as soon as we moved in, we started talking about the things we wanted to change, and the fence was near the top of the list

For the first year or two we didn’t move on it because we couldn’t agree on the kind of fence we wanted. I wanted another picket fence, but this time done in white vinyl, my husband wanted a privacy fence. As each spring came, the fence discussion came too, and we’d talk about what we each wanted but never really came to a conclusion.

After a few summers of grandkids playing ball in the yard and mowing, the pickets have started to break and fall off. We finally agreed – after years of disagreeing about the style and material – that the yard would look better with no fence at all. We don’t have a pool, we don’t have pets, so the current fence was just for decoration and it had become an eyesore.

We knew our corner lot would have nice curb appeal once the molding wood was taken down and new grass sewn in its place. As each section comes down, we have new ideas about the yard and are able to discuss them and find compromise, even agreement. As a couple, we face decisions every day, most of them much more important than a fence, and we must learn to give-and-take and compromise.

Finding the Right Advisor

Do you ever find yourself in a similar situation when dealing with your finances? For whatever reason you may be in a position of making a change, maybe your current financial advisor has retired or moved to another firm. Suddenly you’re faced with following the person you’ve trusted for many years or taking the easier path and staying with the new person assigned to you. Maybe you are just unhappy with your current advisor because you don’t feel you connect with him or her and they aren’t fully understanding your needs.

If any of these scenarios are true, as a couple you can be split over what to do when choosing a financial advisor: one may want to just stay put because it’s easier, and the other may want to get out right away. One may have had a real connection with a previous advisor, and the other is fine with whoever the firm offers in their place.

My husband and I discussed our fence project off and on for four years – it’s a sizable investment, so we wanted to both be happy. Your financial wellbeing is the most important asset you have next to your family, so you both need to be happy in choosing a financial advisor.

Finding the Right Connection

You need to connect with a prospective advisor personally, and they should make you feel as if you are the most important person in the world. In your first meeting, they should get to know you and find out what your financial goals are. Putting together a financial plan for you should be more important than finding out what your current portfolio consists of.

When making a decision as important as choosing a financial advisor, sit down as a couple, make a list of the things that are important to you, write down all those goals you’d like to pursue with your hard-earned finances even if they seem unattainable.

Talk to your friends and co-workers, if you notice they are living a life you’d like to live, they probably have a financial advisor that’s helped them get there. Leave your ego at the door and really think about what it was that made you love and trust your previous advisor in the first place. Don’t wait for a sudden life change that makes choosing a financial advisor a rushed emergency.

Talk it Through

At Gertsema Wealth Advisors, the client always comes first! We can perform a Stress Test on your current portfolio to determine how much risk is in that portfolio and then customize a portfolio to help meet your needs and work toward your financial goals. Transparency is key and you will know upfront what you are paying for and who you’ll be dealing with as an advisor.

Call us for a free initial consultation today. Let’s look at the decisions you have to make, even the tough ones, and talk them through.

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