Who’s on your advisory team?

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Who’s on your advisory team?

by | Oct 5, 2016

The most successful people that I’ve encountered over the years have been those who have acknowledged they can’t be an expert in all the technical, legal and financial matters that affect them, their business and their family. Therefore, the smartest people surround themselves with the talented and experienced people it takes to make a business or family survive, grow, and prosper. 
The most important areas to tap for expertise in a number of areas including — financial planning, accounting, lending, law, taxation, insurance, and investment management, to name a few.  Because it is often impossible for a professional in one of these areas to be an expert in all of the other areas as well, it is often desirable to work with a team of advisors. Naturally, however, you’ll need a quarterback to direct and coordinate the advisory team. Typically, this person is your wealth manager. To follow the United States President example, you need to build your own cabinet or team of professional advisors who can help develop and implement your plans most effectively.

Attorney – An attorney is an individual who has obtained a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree from an accredited law school and has received a license to practice law from a state bar organization. Attorneys are required to take a broad range of courses in law school, typically encompassing such areas as corporations, contracts, commercial law, and wills and trusts.  Often, you may need more than one attorney for a specialty such as estate planning.

CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional – A CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional has passed various courses in such areas as investments, taxation, insurance, retirement and estate planning. Additionally, he or she is required to have three years of work experience and to participate in continuing education courses.

Certified Public Accountant – A Certified Public Accountant (CPA) is an individual who has passed the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) national examination, which tests an individual’s ability in accounting, auditing, business law, and taxation. A CPA is licensed in the state where he or she practices.

Banker – Having a strong banking relationship is key to accessing capital to grow your business, buy a property or home etc.

Insurance Agent – Having all of your property and casualty, life, health, disability, workers compensation, liability coverage is best if coordinated by one independent entity that can shop and properly coordinate the appropriate coverage for you and your family.

How do you build a good team?
Choosing your professional advisors can be one of your most critical business decisions. How much advice you need, want, and can afford are some of the issues you should consider when forming a team. Only you can decide the best mix of advisors for your team. You may also want to follow these steps:

Define your needs and the roles of the advisors
It’s advisable to define each advisor’s role and communicate this information to all parties involved. Specify the conditions when one professional should defer to the judgment of another. You may want to appoint your quarterback–one advisor who coordinates the overall efforts of all parties to ensure that the “big picture” is kept in mind. Typically, the coordinator will be a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional with a strong tax background.

Find the players – Replace deadbeats
Now that you understand the roles of the potential players on your team, it’s time to find the players. Credentials, experience, reputation, expertise, and cost are the most important factors in selecting an advisor. When composing a team, however, there are some additional considerations.  Many times one advisor may be able to refer you to the best players for one or more of the other areas.   If someone is not “cutting the mustard”, it’s time to find a better alternative.

Check their credentials and other traits

    • Check their Education, Training, Licenses and Proven track record.
    • Willingness to work with other financial specialists–To get different specialists to function as one unit, you need team players. Be up-front about the team approach; make sure that each advisor is aware of the names, business addresses, and telephone numbers of the other advisors.
    • Ability to communicate ideas to you clearly and simply–It is also vital for you to understand your advisors. Make sure that he or she can explain complex topics in simple language and is willing to provide such explanations until you feel comfortable with a particular decision.
    • Personal accessibility– If your advisor is too busy to take your phone calls or pay attention to the other advisors on your team, he or she is probably not the best choice for your team. In terms of personality, you’ll want to deal with people with whom you feel comfortable.
    • Your own “gut feelings”–Your own instincts also play a part in your decision. Do you like the candidate? Will the candidate be a good fit? These questions can really only be answered by your gut.

Now that the team is assembled, the game plan should be fully understood by each player. Make sure your goals and any ground rules are clear. You should have occasional group meetings to review progress toward your financial goals and to discuss major events that have impacted your overall plan.

The foregoing information has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Thomas Fleishel and are not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, CFP® (with plaque design) and CFP® (with flame design) in the U.S., which it awards to individuals  who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements.Opinions are those of Thomas Fleishel and not necessarily those of  Raymond James.


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