Key Factors In A Quality Financial Advisor Client Relationship

As a financial advisor in the Washington D.C. area, the quality of our relationships with clients is what sets us apart. It’s not enough to simply possess knowledge about financial products or even have all of the answers to every investment question. What really separates advisors who excel at their craft is the ability to build long-lasting client relationships, providing truly personal service. 

The heartbeat of our firm is valued client relationships

This motto has created the core principles at Brown | Miller, which shows up in every  effort taken with and for you: 

  1. Client-centered  
  2. Standard of excellence 
  3. Integrity 
  4. Teamwork 
  5. Deliver value

On top of these components that help drive a deep advisor-client relationship, you should seek support that provides added benefits like goals-based planning, honesty,  flexibility, and consistent communication. 


Goals-Based Planning Puts Investors First 

In order for an advisor to help you reach your goals, a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL  PLANNER™ in the D.C. area must clearly understand what those goals are. Goal-based financial planning is the only way to accomplish this because it puts you first by addressing the most important question: What do you want out of life?

A good example of this is creating financial planning strategies to ensure you are building enough wealth to enjoy your golden years without worry or stress. This type of planning often involves saving more than just enough money—it means crafting a  specific strategy based on your unique financial situation, including your current assets,  income level, and personal wants/needs.  

While many advisors take their clients’ goals into account during traditional financial planning sessions (i.e., meeting with them once per year), others employ strategies like asset allocation that don’t necessarily involve taking into account their clients’ wishes until after they’ve been implemented in practice (and sometimes even after they’ve been implemented poorly). 

Asking the right questions and working with clients on a deeper,  personalized level is vital in the comprehensive financial planning process. 

Q & A, questions and answers on wooden cubesAn effective financial advisor will ask you the right questions.  

  • What are your goals?  
  • What kind of lifestyle do you want to live?
  • How much risk can you tolerate?

Answering these questions will help build a comprehensive assessment of your financial situation and allow for an in-depth, personalized relationship. 

It’s important to remember that it takes more than just one meeting with a potential advisor to make an informed decision about whether or not they’re the right fit for your 

needs. Some advisors will only spend 15 minutes with clients in their office before presenting them with their plan for success—but this isn’t always enough time for you to cover complex issues like retirement planning or estate management.  

A good client-advisor relationship should last years—built on clear commitment on both sides of the table. 


A Quality Advisor-Client Relationship Should Be Focused  on the Aspirations for Your Family, Future, and Legacy 

What is your vision? What do you want to leave behind? Answering these questions will help your dedicated advisor understand the goals that matter most to you, so a  comprehensive plan can be developed that aligns with those objectives. 

Exploring values and beliefs around money management strategies is part of building a  trusting connection. This includes answering questions about how much risk you are willing or able to take with your investments, where you feel comfortable investing your money, and what kind of information is important when making decisions about financial planning.  

The goal here is not just understanding what works best for you but building trust by learning more about how you make decisions based on your own personal values and beliefs rather than simply focusing on short-term gains at the expense of long-term stability. Could your financial discipline be impacting your success?  


Financial Advice Should Be Based on Honesty and  Integrity 

Honesty is the best policy. From day one, we are upfront with you about all aspects of  our process and your potential investment options, including the following: 

  • The process: There are different phases of investing that can span years or even decades. We’ll walk you through each step as they come up so that you feel confident that we’re making decisions on your behalf in accordance with your goals and timeline. 
  • Risk of loss: Investing involves risk, and we don’t want anyone feeling uncomfortable about what might happen if their investments don’t perform well enough to meet expectations—or worse yet, fail altogether!  
  • Fees charged by financial advisors: Most people don’t know what they’re paying in fees unless they do some research beforehand. This is especially true 

when dealing with financial institutions like banks or online brokers who offer no-fee accounts but still make money off customers’ trades through other means  (like charging extra when purchasing certain types of funds). We’re happy to show you exactly how much money you pay out annually because transparency should always win over covert business tactics. 

As a fee-only financial advisor in the D.C. area on the Brown | Miller team, we will make sure you fully understand what we do, how much you are paying for every service, and what to expect along the way. 


The Ability To Be Flexible Supports a Quality Advisor Client Relationship 

Flexibility is key to an ongoing client relationship. You deserve the freedom to work with a wealth manager who is available when you need help. If you want your financial plan in hard copy, that’s what you should receive. But if you prefer an online portal to access your portfolio, that option should also be available. 


A Quality Advisor-Client Relationship Is Created by  Consistent Communication 

A solid advisor-client relationship is created by consistent communication. A quality financial advisor will provide you with regular updates on your finances so that you know where things stand at all times and can see how they are changing over time. This allows you to make informed decisions about what changes need to be made in order to achieve your goals and priorities.


Successful Financial Planning Is a Long-Term,  Bottomless Process 

Focus on the long term motivational quoteIt’s important to remember that financial planning is a long-term process and the client relationship you build with your financial advisor should be similar. It will take time for you to learn about the unique needs of your financial situation and align them with your financial goals. Additionally, it can take time to gain a full understanding of what you truly want and need from this alliance. 

In order for anyone involved in the process to succeed at reaching goals, patience and communication are critical components. 


A Quality Advisor-Client Relationship Provides Peace of  Mind 

It’s important to have a trusted advisor, especially during times of uncertainty and high inflation. A financial ally can help you feel confident about your financial future and decisions. This can ultimately provide better rest at night and peace of mind. 

When you feel confident in your financial future, it’s easier to make sound decisions with confidence. This means that even if you don’t know exactly where things are going or how they will play out, the fact that you know where they could go will help keep you on track.  


The Takeaway 

When you work with an advisor who provides honesty, knowledgeable teamwork, and communication, you can rest assured that they’re serving your needs well.  

At Brown | Miller, we want what’s best for you, just as much as you want what’s best for you


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This article is intended for informational purposes only, and not to be a client-specific suitability analysis or recommendation, an offer to participate in any investment, or a recommendation to buy, hold or sell securities. Do not use this report as the sole basis for investment decisions. Do not select an asset class or investment product based on performance alone. Consider all relevant information, including your existing portfolio, investment objectives, risk tolerance, liquidity needs, and investment time horizon. This report is for general informational purposes only and is not intended to predict or guarantee the future performance of any individual security, market sector, or the markets generally. 

The information provided in this article represents the opinions of Brown Miller Wealth Management (“BMWM”) and is expressed as of the date hereof and is subject to change. BMWM assumes no obligation to update or otherwise revise our opinions or this article.  The observations and views expressed herein may be changed by BMWM at any time without notice. The information may be based on third-party information, which is deemed reliable, but its accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. BMWM provides links for your convenience to websites produced by other providers or industry related material. Accessing websites through links directs you away from our website. BMWM is not responsible for errors or omissions in the material on third-party websites and does not necessarily approve of or endorse the information provided. Users who gain access to third-party websites may be subject to the copyright and other restrictions on use imposed by those providers and assume responsibility and risk from the use of those websites.

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Author: Christopher W. Brown, CFP®, CIMA®

Christopher W. Brown is the Founder and Managing Principal at Brown | Miller Wealth Management.