Now that you’ve received your list of SmartVestor Pros, what is the next step to finding a financial advisor who is right for you? Before agreeing to work with the first person you meet, ask your SmartVestor Pro these questions.

Be clear that you’re seeking a long-term business relationship so you want to be sure they are the right fit for both of you. I’ve answered the questions below so you get to know our Portland based firm Thimbleberry Financial.

1. What is my experience as an investing professional?

I’ve been an advisor since 2003. That was the year the markets recovered but people hadn’t felt improvement in their personal situation so they were still anxious as they waited for change to happen. In 2008, I saw the panic and also the economic recovery.

From those experiences, I saw how market fluctuations affected clients who were focused on retirement, those who were already retired, as well as clients who were earlier in their careers and starting their families.

2. How will I help you minimize risk in your investment portfolio?

Risk is an interesting concept depending on how the markets are performing. When the markets are up, many people are willing to take on more risk and when they are down, many want to take a conservative approach. Before deciding to work together, it is important that I talk to you so I understand where you really stand in terms of risk.

As a financial advisor, my role is to minimize risk in your investment portfolio by holding you accountable to your risk assessment. That means as the market changes and you tell me you’re willing to increase your risk, I help you stay where you need so that you sleep well at night when the market adjusts.

3. How will you help me understand why you recommend certain investments?

Communication is essential when it comes to understanding why I recommend certain investments specific to your situation. Together we discuss proposed investments, not just what they are but also why I am recommending them.

Then I ask you to repeat what we’ve talked about so I know you understand the risks involved in every decision we make about your investment portfolio. Every investment has good, bad, and ugly. We’re going to talk about that. A lot of times, the ugly may be fees or it may be risk on a certain type of investment.

My belief is that you always need to have a flexible place to get out of money. At Thimbleberry Financial, we create the most efficient financial plan with the understanding that life is going to happen and opportunities are going to happen. If don’t keep a safe place for you to access your money, then that financial plan isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

4. How do I get paid?

The relationship with our clients starts with a financial plan. The first way we get paid is that we charge a fee for finance advice and that fee is based upon the complexity of the work we’re doing for you. We’re happy to sit down and have a consultation to figure out what that fee will be.

The other way we get paid is from investments. We are fee-based which means that for most investment we have a level fee which we charge on a tiered scheduled and in other cases, it may be more beneficial for you to have a commission-based account.

5. What fees are associated with investing?

When it comes to questions to ask your SmartVestorPro, it’s important to ask about fees associated with investing. Traditionally, there were front-loaded commissions, so for many mutual funds, you would pay an up-front fee and hopefully hold that investment for a very long time. In stocks and bonds, you are paying a fee as things are bought and sold, and with level fee investing, or fee-based investing, you’re paying a fee based on the percentage of assets under management. In our case, that is a tiered schedule based on the amount of money in the account.

At Thimbleberry Financial we take the time to know our clients and their financial goals. We help our clients with all stages of their financial plan, from defining their goals to identifying possible strategies for implementing and reviewing the solutions. Contact us today!