The job of a financial representative is one of the most rewarding in our economy. If you're reading this article to learn about the day-to-day responsibilities and challenges that a financial representative will face, you've come to the right place.
Financial Representatives are Specialized
If you ask 10 financial representatives what their most important tasks are, you might get 10 unique answers. While some financial representatives focus on investments, others consider themselves to be more akin to a life coach. In addition, many financial representatives work on the broad issues that a client may face and help that client or family address their financial situation in a holistic way, simply meaning looking at everything. Those who fit into this category might often think of themselves as a comprehensive financial representative. At the other end of the spectrum are those who focus on highly specialized areas and consider themselves a specialist financial representative. Areas of specialty can range from college saving and planning, retirement planning for retirees, and there are some financial representatives who are experts in the area of tax planning. Before engaging with a financial representative it is important to know how they will be compensated. In general, there are three major categories: a fee-only financial representative, a fee-based financial representative, and a commission-based financial representative.
Fee-Based vs Fee-Only
Many people don't fully understand the difference between a fee-only and a fee-based financial representative. A fee-only financial representative does not accept a fee or compensation based on product sales. Fee-only planning includes other methods of charging clients such as a flat retainer, an hourly rate, or a charge specific to the task at hand. A fee-based financial representative charges a percentage of the assets under management. There is also the commission-based financial representative who does not charge client's management fees every month, quarter, or on an annual basis, but does of course receive a commission.
Get Acquainted First
Whichever type of financial representative you decide to work with, it's very important to first have a "get acquainted” appointment. At that time, and there should be no charge for doing so regardless of whether you're working with a financial representative who charges fees or not, you should take at least 45 minutes to an hour to ask questions in this initial meeting. Find out how long the financial representative has lived in your community, how many clients does he or she have, and so forth. Choosing the financial representative that fits your needs and that you will be comfortable with for the long haul is crucial.