What Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor About Retirement


Regardless of whether you have been saving for retirement for decades or you’re only getting started, you may want to turn to a financial advisor who can provide you with guidance on your investment strategy. An experienced financial advisor can offer consultations and recommendations on your retirement plans. 

There are a few signs you may need a financial advisor, including:

  • You’re unsure how to invest
  • You’re unsure if you have enough income to last throughout retirement
  • You’re unsure if you are prepared and covered should you need Long Term Care
  • You don’t have any investments 
  • You haven’t made an estate plan
  • You have investments, but you don’t understand or they’re consistently losing money

Since you may work with a financial advisor for years, it’s worthwhile to dedicate the time to finding the right one. To help you decide, you should know what retirement questions to ask a financial advisor when you first speak with them about your plans. As such, we have compiled several questions to ask when you’re looking for a financial advisor who can help you plan for retirement.

Table of Contents:

Are You a Fiduciary Financial Advisor?

First, ask a potential financial advisor if they are a fiduciary financial advisor. The law mandates this type of advisor to be transparent with you about the costs, act in your best interests and disclose and minimize conflicts of interest. That means they will steer you toward investment decisions that are in your best interest, rather than theirs. 

Even if an advisor confirms they are a fiduciary, some are only fiduciaries sometimes. Ensure the financial advisor you choose is always a fiduciary to avoid issues that may arise otherwise, such as the advisor earning hidden commissions. When you work with a fiduciary financial advisor, you can get the help you need at a fair price. 

An advisor who charges only a fee is more likely to be a fiduciary financial advisor than someone who works on commissions. Using a fee-only model can reduce any possible conflicts of interest. You may pay a flat rate, hourly rate or percentage of the assets they’re managing for you. Since their income comes from you, it’s in a fiduciary financial advisor’s best interest to ensure you have financial products and plans that work for you. 

When Can I Retire? Do I Have Enough Money to Do So?

Among the questions to ask a financial advisor about retirement, when you can expect to retire is a topic to kick-start your retirement planning discussion. Many factors will affect when you can leave the workforce, and a skilled financial advisor can look more in-depth at your circumstances to give you a more precise answer than you can get from crunching the numbers.

A financial advisor will consider your specific goals and dreams. Walk your advisor through your current investments and assets to establish a more accurate retirement timeline. How you plan to spend your time in retirement is just as critical a concern as how you expect to spend your money. 

Branch off from the question about your retirement timeline by asking whether you have enough money to retire. In your retirement planning, you should consider the lifestyle you want in the future and what income you have access to other than your investments. 

No single number for net worth is suitable for everyone, and your financial advisor can help you choose a retirement savings goal by evaluating your debts, assets and lifestyle goals. Your retirement portfolio should meet your needs and wants. Though you can’t plan for every unexpected event, such as various health conditions or when you will pass away, a financial advisor can walk you through several possible scenarios to ensure you can handle risks. 

Does Your Financial Advisory Firm Hold My Money and Investments?

Except for the fees your financial advisor charges and trades they will be placing, they should not have any contact with your assets moving money to and from a bank for example. Instead, your financial advisor will contract with a custodian that will hold your assets, make distributions, process transactions, produce monthly statements and collect interest and dividend payments. Well-known and reputable third-party custodians include Fidelity, TD Ameritrade and Charles Schwab.   

Similarly, you should know what will happen to your money if something happens to your financial advisor. They should proactively let you know the plan of action if they leave the firm or retire. You should understand who will handle your finances and how they will do so.

Red pen circling the number 15 on a calendar

How Will We Touch Base About My Investments?

Another crucial question to ask your financial advisor before retirement is how you and your financial advisor will stay in touch about your investments. At a minimum, you should be in contact with your financial advisor every quarter. Monthly may be preferable. An advisor will explain every sales or purchase transaction and offer periodic reviews of your portfolio’s status. These meetings with your advisor may include educational resources if you request them. 

Be sure to discuss your investments with your financial advisor. Ask why they recommend specific investments and whether they will receive a commission if you buy something they suggest, as this could alert you to a potential conflict of interest. You should understand your asset allocation and what fees you are paying for the funds and to your advisor. 

Your portfolio should be appropriate for your risk profile, needs and how soon you want to have the money. For example, if you are approaching retirement age and have already amassed enough money for retirement, you may be primarily interested in capital preservation, so your financial advisor should recommend a very conservative allocation of assets. 


Start Retirement Planning With Nova Wealth Management

Strategic retirement investment planning is crucial for meeting your goals. At Nova Wealth Management, we can evaluate your circumstances and help you identify possible sources of retirement income, including retirement savings, Social Security and pensions. We provide various retirement financial planning services, including:

  • Claiming Social Security 
  • Selecting appropriate housing
  • Planning for your long-term care needs
  • Tax planning for legacy and retirement income 
  • Choosing from Medicare and other health insurance options
  • Assessing and addressing risks you may face in retirement financial planning
  • Determining distributions from an employer-sponsored retirement financial plan

We can help you create a strategy and feel more confident about your financial future. We serve clients all over the U.S., but we have locations in Dallas, TXBonita Springs, FL and Chicago, ILSchedule a free, no-obligation consultation with us at Nova Wealth Management or contact us with any additional questions today.

About the Author

Picture of Amy Novakovich, CFP®, CRPC®

Amy Novakovich, CFP®, CRPC®

Amy is a Co-Founder of Nova Wealth Management. She is a native of Wisconsin and moved to Florida in 2004. She earned a degree in finance from Florida Gulf Coast University. Amy is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional (CFP®) and a Chartered Retirement Planning Counselor® (CRPC®).

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