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What You Should Ask When Planning Your Financial Future

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A popular Chinese proverb states: “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” The same can be said for young adults looking to start planning for their financial future.

“The things you can do at an early age can compound overtime,” says Mo Schutte, senior vice president with Simplify Wealth Group. “You want to get started as early as possible. No one can predict career changes, health issues and other life events.”

If you’re planning for major financial milestones such as getting married and buying a house, or considering a retirement account with your first job, Schutte explains that having a personal connection with one or two advisors can be extremely helpful.

“You can get advice from an article, but that’s for the general population and not taking into account what you may be personally experiencing,” he says. “Just like when looking for medical advice, you want to consult a qualified professional with specific advice.”

When it comes to finding such a professional, a good first step is looking at whether your parents have an advisor they work with. Simplify Wealth Group makes an effort not only to take care of its longtime clients but also to connect with their next generation of beneficiaries so they know they have resources there.

However, if you’re looking to go a different route, Schutte describes some of the best questions to ask your potential financial advisor.

“I think it’s good to just start with ‘What’s your story?’” He says. “What are their values when it comes to helping clients? You can learn a lot from that alone. That can lead into a little more about qualifications, training and licensing. In most cases, advisors have different credentials. You should ask what those mean for you.”

That’s an initial conversation-starter. From there Schutte suggests asking who a financial advisor’s ideal client is. Experienced advisors are frequently specialized and have a certain kind of client they have more experience with. A good way to find out is to ask about the problems they’ve recently solved with a client.

Additional questions can include how advisors get paid, as well as what they charge and the services that are included in that fee. If it isn’t obvious by the name of the firm, ask if the advisor works alone or on a team, and if it’s a team, ask about the other members and the wider range of people you might be getting help from.

It’s also helpful to ask a potential advisor to walk you through the client process. Look at what to expect in the first 30 days, six months, and three to five years. If that all aligns, you’ll be in a better situation, and if not, it might be best to keep looking.

“If you’re going to be working with an advisor, it’s not going to be a one-time event,” Schutte says. “You don’t want to start down a path where it’s not a good fit.”

It’s never too early or too late to start making connections with experienced advisors as you plan for the future. The best time to start looking, though, is today.

Simplify Wealth Group, 2021 S. Lindbergh Blvd., Suite 300, Frontenac, 314-556-6700,

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