Napolitano looks at money.
Like a professional sports team, it would be wise for you to review your entire team of service providers. Before the New Year, there is no time like the present to evaluate whether you have assembled the right professionals to help you keep your financial house in order.
The hardest part is judging the quality of advice and service that you get from each member. As your relationships endure, it is sometimes difficult to place a professionally skeptical eye on your beloved team to complete a scorecard. One possibility to assist you is to engage another professional, merely for a second opinion. Make sure that your second opinion provider is a fiduciary, and acting in your best interests rather than trying to sell you something other than the advice of a second opinion.
Questions that you may ask yourself in this endeavor to ratify the team that you’ve built include questions about levels of communication, results, and subject matter expertise.
As for the level of communication, do you feel as if any of the professionals on your team need chasing? It is both unprofessional and unproductive to have people on your payroll that you have to always hunt down. All of the advisors should be proactive and make it their business to be sure that you are informed ahead of any anticipated needs or changes.
How did your team of subject matter experts perform for you last year or the year before?
Most of you may be thinking about investment performance, but of course while that is important, there is still more. Did you owe more in taxes than your accountant led you to believe? Did your business documents get updated as the attorney recommended?
Did your investment professional tell you that they don’t charge fees and proceed to invest your money in high commission products? Do you know how much you paid in fees or commissions last year?
Did your insurance agent sell you a policy with gaps that left you under- or uninsured for certain perils that struck last year?
Were any of the team members uncooperative in collaborating with the other members of your team?
Even for families with an impressive list of credentialed professionals, you can’t just assume everything is in place. This past year alone we saw several new situations where clients came in claiming their estate plan was recently done. In some cases, the documents were never properly executed, funded and in some cases the documents were not appropriate for the circumstances.
Turnabout is fair play. Also evaluate yourself as a client of these professionals.
Did you timely follow up on requests for information? Were you able to attend meetings? Did you pay your bills on time?
Did you hold a family meeting to inform loved ones of any roles that they may play in your financial or estate planning affairs?
Here’s hoping that your team is a winner.