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RWO Blog

7 Questions to Ask a Potential Financial Adviser

By Ron Oxman

First of all, congratulations on taking a big step towards improving your financial health. Apart from the person you marry, selecting a fantastic financial planner may be the next most important decision you’ll ever make. Financial advisers can be particularly helpful when you have a significant life change such as coping with the death of a spouse, getting married or divorced, becoming a parent, buying a house, buying or selling a business, changing jobs or receiving a windfall.

Here are some questions you should ask to help you make the decision on whether a particular financial adviser is the one for you:

  1. What is your background and experience? It is generally a good idea to select an adviser who has several years of experience as they’ve seen what the markets have done over a significant period of time and they’re generally more aware of the wide range of investments that are available.
  2. What licenses and certifications do you hold? Experience definitely counts, but it’s also important to know that your financial adviser has some qualifications and is dedicated to ongoing financial education for both themselves and their clients.
  3. How are you compensated? Some schools of thought believe that fee-only advisers are more unbiased as they do not receive a commission from actual products. The fact of the matter though is that everyone has a personal bias. You basically need to find an adviser whom you trust to serve your best interests rather than their own.
  4. What is your investment philosophy? What strategies do you use? This is important as the investment philosophy of an adviser is tied to their philosophies on risk. While you may not have a clear idea of your own investment philosophy, listening to theirs will help you see any potential “red flags” before signing on the dotted line.
  5. Who is your ideal client? Hearing an adviser articulate this will help you discover whether you’re a good fit for each other.
  6. What is your area of expertise? Most advisers prefer to work with clients in a certain “cycle” or profession. By that, I mean some prefer to work with teachers or lawyers while others prefer to work with people who are at or near retirement rather than people starting to build their nest egg. While it isn’t a deal-breaker if your goals don’t match up precisely, adding the answer to this question to the other answers you receive will give you an overall picture of whether the adviser is the one for you.
  7. What do you see as my financial goals and objectives? One of the key things a great adviser needs to have is the ability to LISTEN to your situation and formulate a specific strategy that will put you in a better position to reach your goals. Having them articulate what they have understood from your conversation will put you in a position to evaluate whether they have understood YOUR needs and goals and perhaps clarify them for you as well as put them in a more realistic light based on your financial situation.

Of course, this is not an exhaustive (or hopefully exhausting) list, but it should give you a great start along with whether you connect with the financial adviser and trust them. If you have any questions, or need any additional help, feel free to get in touch with me via email on: or call me on 520.629.9767. I’ll be happy to have a discussion with you.



Ron Oxman

Brief Bio:

Ron Oxman, founder and owner of RWO Financial, Inc., has been in the financial services industry for 48 years, serving some clients for over 40 years. He strives to provide unbiased, independent, comprehensive financial advice to individuals. Ron is committed to helping individuals plan for their future by bringing knowledge, honesty and unparalleled service to his clients. Retirement is Ron’s specialty. Whether retired, getting ready to retire or wanting to build a tax-efficient or tax-free retirement, his aim is to partner with you to help your goals come to fruition.


Check the background of this financial professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck
Check the background of this financial professional on FINRA's BrokerCheck