Potential clients rarely ask me about my own financial situation. This has always surprised me. During the initial due diligence process, I ask them very detailed questions about their goals, assets, income, liabilities, etc. I’m sure they would feel a bit awkward asking me the same questions, but it’s a relevant and appropriate topic. I actually appreciate and respect the courageous individual who asks me for this information because they will see that I’m doing everything I’m asking of them and that I’m invested in many of the same investments which I am recommending to them.
The last time a client asked me for this information was about 6 months ago. I had met with this couple multiple times, and this meeting had the air of “decision time” to it. She started off asking me detailed questions about the benefits and compensation I offered to my employees (this was also important to her) and then asked me whether she could see a copy of my net worth statement. I walked back to my office and printed it out – I keep this on my computer and update it quarterly. The entire conversation on both topics took maybe 10-15 minutes, but that gave her and her husband the comfort they needed to move forward. There was a sense of “we’re in this together, and we share similar values.”
You might be uncomfortable asking for this information, but why would you invest your lifetime of savings with someone who was not also successfully working towards their own financial goals? On what authority could they possibly make recommendations for financial success when they haven’t followed their own advice? How can they know your emotional ups and downs during market volatility if they are not invested, too? Finally, it might simply prompt a better discussion with your advisor – for example, what advantages do see with Money Manager ABC over Money Manager XYZ?
Ask the questions. You’ll do it in a tactful way. And your financial advisor – if they’re worth entrusting your life savings to – will appreciate the opportunity to share his or her success with you.