Your experience when working with one of our financial planning members or any other special needs financial planner will be much better if you know what to expect. While no two financial planners and no two clients are alike, here are a few pointers that should improve your experience and results.
First, you have a right to expect a quick response to your telephone calls, e-mails, faxes and letters from the financial planner or his or her staff. This doesn't mean that the planner will necessarily drop the work he or she is doing for other clients to take your call, but you should get a call back by the end of the following workday. Second, you should expect a high level of advice. The financial planner cannot always guarantee the result, but she should use all of her expertise, experience and energy on your behalf. Third, you should expect a clear statement of the financial planner's fees. They may be in the form of commissions, an hourly rate, or a percentage of your account value, or some combination of these. But whatever you and the financial planner agree on should be clear to you. If it isn't, don't be afraid to ask questions.
First, don't expect free advice. Much of the value of what the financial planner will provide is her advice. Many financial planners offer a free initial meeting, but don't assume this is the case without asking. Second, don't expect the financial planner to know all of the answers off the top of his head. In most cases, a financial plan takes time to develop based on your needs, goals, and financial situation. Also, bear in mind that lawyers and financial planners often work together to formulate the best plan for special needs clients and their families.