I recently had lunch with a friend that I met in my running group. For our purposes, his name is John. He asked me to lunch because he had some questions about financial planning. To give a quick overview, his grandmother had a sizeable estate and her investments were with a large family office. She passed away and John’s parents inherited much of her estate. They decided to keep the investments with the current firm. They have told John that he can also open up his accounts at the firm despite not meeting their account minimums.

So John has a decision to make. Does he stick with the firm that has been managing his grandmother’s and parent’s money OR does he forge a new path and develop a relationship with a new trusted advisor? In short, John needs to do what is best for him and his family. Here are some questions that I asked him to help him come to that decision on his own:

  1. What does each firm offer in terms of services? Get a detailed answer from each firm. Is the firm doing comprehensive planning or just managing investments?
  2. Compare fees and make sure you are comparing apples to apples.
  3. If you are “piggy backing” off your parent’s accounts, will you be “viewed” as a cherished and valued client?
  4. Brainstorm the items that you need help with. Which firm seems to meet those needs the best?
  5. Will you be working with a dedicated lead advisor at the firm or delegated to a customer service line?
  6. Will you receive a lower level of service because you do not meet the account minimums at your parents firm?
  7. Is the firm local? Is this important to you?

Whether it’s staying with your family’s advisor or forging your own path with a new advisor, the most important thing is to work with an advisor that knows you and your situation and can help best meet your family’s goals.

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