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Trusting your financial planner

Diahann Lassus of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors

TEXT OF INTERVIEW

Tess Vigeland: When you need to sort things out in your head, you go to a trusted therapist. When you need to sort things out in your portfolio, you go to a trusted financial planner -- or these days, you might want to go to that therapist.

We've gotten several questions recently from listeners who are now wondering whether they can trust the person who's helping manage their finances, so we turn to Diahann Lassus of the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors.

How do you answer that?

Diahann Lassus: They need to ask some specific questions. How is my plan doing? Are we on track? Considering the world has kind of been turned upside down for all of us, what they need to do is either figure out why they're uncomfortable or if they can't get those answers then they may want to reconsider their relationship with their advisor.

Vigeland: What are some other things that you might want to watch out for in this time of uncertainty that should cause you to second-guess your financial planner?

Lassus: Well, the things that you really need to think about are have you gotten communication from your advisor?

Vigeland: So proactive communication then? They're coming to you saying "We have to talk."

Lassus: Absolutely, they need to be be hearing from their advisor what they think is going on in the world. Are they identifying issues that they need to talk about? They really need to be telling them what their thinking is.

Vigeland: And what if you have a financial planning who's essentially just kind of telling you, "Don't worry about it. Things are going to be fine?"

Lassus: Well, I think they probably need to be telling you more than that. THey need to be talking about the issues that are going on right now and they need to be talking about how that can affect you both in the short term and in the long term. Obviously, most of us are saying we're focused on the long term and that's what we want to do because these short-term insane markets are just that: they are short-term insane markets. But we still have to talk about all those issues. What's going to happen with the banking system?
What are the things that we can watch that can make us more comfortable?

Vigeland: If you have this conversation and decide that you may have some new trust issues with your financial planner for whatever reason, what's the best way to find a new one?

Lassus: Basically, what you want to look for in financial advisors if you're looking to change, they could be a certified financial planner, they could be a CPA who has gotten additional experience or education in financial planning. You also want to make sure they have experience. If you have more complex issues, you want to make sure they've worked with people that are like you and that have some of your same issues. You also want to make sure they have continuing education, that every year they go to courses, they stay on top of what's going on and that you can be confident that they will continue to do that.

Vigeland: Diahann Lassus heads up the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. Thanks so much for coming in.

Lassus: You're very welcome.

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