In today’s digital world, we can get just about every service possible online. In most cases, however, people still want, need, desire, and respond best to face-to-face interaction. This particular human nuance has led many to believe that working with a local financial planner is a must. This may be true in some cases, however the real question one should be asking is "Are the qualifications and knowledge base of this financial planner best suited to my needs?" and "Am I comfortable using digital tools to connect with my advisor?".
Are You Comfortable Utilizing Technology?
Whether or not you should work with a remote advisor depends on the type of relationship you’re looking for. While most advisors still prefer to meet with clients at least once a year ace-to-face, many now have systems in place to work with a clients in a way that is still hands-on even if they live far away. Video chat, screensharing, dedicated financial planning software, and electronic signature technology can all be used to get the job done without ever meeting in person. However if you know that you are not someone comfortable with utilizing technology, a local planner may be the better option.
What Services Will You Need?
A few things apply to all planners, no matter where they are located. First, a good financial planner should have a certifiable education, training, and experience. Second, the prospective investor should be able to easily find independent references from both investors and regulators that the planner is providing quality service. Finally, the planner should be willing to sit down and work with you on an overall financial/investment plan.
From there, what's important will depend on what level of services you need. If you are looking for someone to simply oversee and periodically re-balance your long-term investment portfolio, that may not require lengthy conversations with a planner.
Does Your Situation Lend Itself To A Niche-Specific Planner?
If you’re looking for someone to sit down with you, help you establish financial goals, talk about your overall financial health, establish and manage a budget, and help you make big decisions, you'll want to work with an advisor who will want to get to know you very well. This may mean you choose someone local who you can meet with face-to-face whenever you feel to need to discuss more complex issues. Or, it could mean you choose a remote advisor who has a niche-focus and whose area of expertise is in working with others like you.
Local or Remote - There's No One Right Answer
However, keep in mind that you, as an investor, are ultimately responsible for your own wellbeing. There is no default menu that guarantees a planner choice that works perfect for everyone. And that means time, communication, and a bit of smarts are necessary for good investing as well.
Bottom line, local planners are just as good or bad as long distance resources. There are questions everyone should ask prior to handing over the reigns to their financial assets. Ultimately, finding the right person is more of an art than a science, since what each investor wants is unique. So, be willing to look around a bit instead of settling on the first planner found.
The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as investment, tax, or legal advice. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.