How Much Time Can I Expect to Spend With a Financial Advisor?

One of the most pertinent questions an investor might ask in considering whether to enlist the aid of a financial advisor is how much time a representative typically spends with a client in establishing a strategy and working on investments on the client's behalf. It is a fair question, and probably a good one to think about. We tend to equate time with monetary value, so we wonder how much time we are going to get for our money when we hire a financial pro to work for us. There are a number of different factors that might influence the answer to this question, but several common factors will pop up in almost any investor's relationship with an advisor. The investor's vision of the nature of the client/advisor relationship is one; the size of the investor's portfolio another; and the way the professional is being paid a third major factor that can influence the amount of time spent with a client.

Time Spent Depends on Relationship

The amount of time your financial advisor spends with you largely depends on you as an investor and a client. The first and maybe most significant factor is your own vision of what your relationship with your broker should be like. If you have a rather hands on approach to investing and you want to be very involved in the process of determining your investment mix, it is likely that you will require a great deal of contact with your financial professional. Not all of the contact may be in person; some of it might occur over the phone or via email. Good advisors always have lots of clients to manage, and many portfolios to stay on top of.

If you're looking for your advisors to do the work for you and give you status updates from time to time, you won't see them all that often. But if you need an advisor to help you with household money management, or if you need to sign off on any investment choices made before they are ever put into action, you'll have much more contact with your financial pro.

Portfolio Size Affects Time Investment

A second significant variable is the size of your portfolio. If your financial advisor if only handling a few thousand dollars of your investment capital, maybe establishing a new 401k or just getting you going in mutual funds for the first time, you likely will only need to meet once, and any additional correspondence can happen by mail unless something comes up. But if your advisor is handling hundreds of thousands of dollars or more, you'll probably want to see him more than every so often, for accountability as much as for any other reason. The larger your portfolio, the more face time you'll be granted from an advisor. And of course, with more money at stake, you'll want to see her more, too.

Advisor Compensation Influences Personal Contact

Finally, the manner in which your advisor is compensated will have an effect on the amount of time you spend with him. If he is paid based on the value of your account, it behooves him to spend most of his time monitoring your investments and earning his money that way. But a fee only advisor getting paid for face to face encounters would have much more reason to schedule you in a lot more frequently. As always, this has as much to do with your needs as it does with the time constraints and scheduling difficulties that might be experienced by your financial advisor.

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