top tenYou pay your financial advisor and firm substantial amounts of money for their expertise, advice, and services. You believe your financial advisor’s specialized knowledge will help you earn higher returns for your retirement assets than you could on your own.

This is a reasonable expectation and January is a good time to complete your review of your 2013 results and learn more about your financial advisor’s outlook for 2014. You are using hindsight when you review past results. However, you are paying your financial advisor for foresight that will produce competitive returns for reasonable risk and expense in 2014.

Outlook 

Your financial advisor should have an Investment Outlook for the next 12 months. Some advisors produce Market Environment reports that document their investment outlooks for future performance. 2013 is yesterday’s news. What is your financial advisor going to produce in 2014?

Crystal Ball

No advisor has a crystal ball that can accurately predict the future performance of the securities markets. This is why you select financial advisors with substantial amounts of education, credentials, and experience. Their knowledge provides educated guesses for the future that can reduce your anxiety and minimize surprises.

Top 10 Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor

2013 was a great year for stock market investors. What will happen in 2014? Keep in mind, responses may be based on your financial advisor’s personal knowledge or the collective wisdom of the professionals at your advisor’s firm.

1. What is your outlook for the economy: Employment, interest rates, inflation, corporate profits, and global stability?

2. What are your performance expectations for the stock market?

3. What are your performance expectations for the bond market?

4. Should I invest more money in foreign securities markets?

5. Should I invest in any new asset classes?

6. Should I get out of any asset classes?

7. What will be the best performing sectors of the economy?

8. What will be the worst performing sectors of the economy?

9. What investments will be my greatest sources of risk?

10. What will my estimated investment expenses be for the year?

Red Flags

If your financial advisor cannot answer these basic questions there is a good chance he is a sales representative who masquerades as an advisor to reduce your sales resistance. Reps know you do not want salesmen investing your assets. Wall Street believes reps do not have to know much to sell mutual funds and other investment products.