Danielle Howard

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March 25, 2013
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Know your financial 'Bill of Rights'

You work with a financial planner to assess and stay on track in your financial life. You share your current situation and your dreams of what lies down the road, working together to create your reality. A planner's goal is to help you banish fear, savor hope and avoid regret with the financial component of life. Accomplishing clarity of vision and peace of mind in moving forward would be your goal. You have the right to expect the following from a financial planner and advisor.

I. You have the right to feel at ease and relaxed with the planner you choose. You want to be able to communicate, to be understood and to understand.

II. You have the right to full disclosure by the advisor of any fees or commissions charged. If you are working with a registered investment advisor, you should receive a copy of the advisor's ADV Part II - which is a document required by the SEC that outlines how their business is run and how they are compensated. It will include a code of ethics and privacy statement. You have a right to know what services you will be receiving and the cost of the services you are purchasing. What services are included in their asset management agreement? What is included in creating a financial plan, and what is the cost? How comprehensive is the planning process? What is the time frame for completion of the plan as well as follow up implementation?

III. You have the right to a written contract which spells out the terms of your working relationship. You or the planner should be able to discontinue the relationship if found to be inappropriate or unsatisfactory.

IV. You are entitled to written recommendations that are based on your individualized needs and goals. A customized plan will look at many aspects of your unique situation. The advisor works for you and the better they know you, and every facet of your circumstances, the better they will serve you.

V. You have the right to confidentiality with regards to all information you provide to your planner. This is intimate territory and your personal life needs to be protected.

VI. You have the right to have your goals, objectives and concerns treated with respect, with no value judgments made by the planner.

VII. You have the right to clear explanations for any and all recommendations and to thorough answers as to why those recommendations are being made. You should feel educated and empowered and confident that recommendations are in your best interest before you take action.

VIII. You have a right to assistance in the implementation of your plan, and that your advisor will work closely with everyone on your team. Without help in obtaining the appropriate tools to accomplish your intended strategies, your plan will remain another pile of papers on your desk.

IX. You have the right to an advisor that is available to you. You and your needs are important, and you have a right to be treated accordingly. You should have access to your advisor or their team to answer questions or get reassurance and support along the way.

In exchange for having your rights honored, you have the responsibility to work diligently and conscientiously with your advisor. You must be prepared to discuss your personal feelings, concerns, and objectives openly and honestly. You must bring all aspects of your financial life to the table to be incorporated into your plan. You must implement the agreed upon actions in a timely fashion.

With the appropriate planner in place and team of advisors working for you, you will be able to wisely navigate the growing complexities of life transitions and the financial implications that arise.

- Danielle Howard is a Certified Financial Planner ™ practitioner and Financial Life Planner®. Her office is located at 23300 Two Rivers Road in Basalt. Visit her at www.howardfinancialresources.com or call 927-3909. E-mail her at dhoward@howardfinancialresources.com.


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The Post Independent Updated Mar 25, 2013 12:45AM Published Mar 25, 2013 12:43AM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.