Learn how to choose a financial advisor and what to expect from the advising process.
[Host] At its core, a good financial plan lays out actionable steps to achieve your goals. Lauren Marshall, Senior Vice President and Financial Planning Manager for SunTrust Private Wealth Management and SunTrust Investment Services, explains what benefits you can expect when you partner with a financial advisor to help define your goals and guide your path.
[Lauren Marshall] First, we really try and help you understand or really determine what are your key objectives. What I mean by that is why are you saving? Why are you investing your money? You know, every dollar really has a purpose.
Then you have to kind of look at if there's more than one goal, you know, what's the priority with those goals if when you look at them all at the same time because that'll help you understand which ones you achieve or try and tackle first. And then we help you from the standpoint of progressing towards those goals.
[Host] But Marshall says many people put off working with a financial planner because they’re concerned about the time commitment.
[Marshall] People are nervous about engaging in the planning process because they feel like it'll be a very overwhelming experience. They feel like it takes a lot of time and it takes a lot of information to get through that process. The good news is we feel like we've streamlined that process in a number of ways.
[Host] Issues that used to take 4 or 5 meetings to cover, Marshall says can now be addressed in one or two, thanks in large part to simplified data collection. Additionally, working with an advisor capable of wearing many different hats also helps streamline the planning process.
[Marshall] We're a counselor. We have to understand what's important to you first before we can even get into the solution mode. And the second role we play is a coach, you know, throughout the process, we want to make sure that you're able to obtain those goals, so we keep you honest. We're keeping you on track. And then, traditionally, as we do, we play the role of a financial advisor. We have a certain level of expertise that allows us to understand what strategies would be available for you that would help with your unique situation.
[Host] So how do you know you’ve found the right advisor? Marshall says there are many qualities you should look for.
[Marshall] Asking a lot of good questions up front, being a good listener. That's number one. The second one is I think they need to be planning oriented, you know, they need to look at your situation holistically. They don't need to look at it in a box, you know. If you come to them with just a question about rolling over a 401(k), they shouldn't just address that question. They should ask you more about your situation, if you have accounts elsewhere, and that helps them understand, you know, how you're invested across the board, how you're saving across the board.
The third one would be, you know, what's their follow-up to that initial conversation or that initial engagement with you? They should have a communication plan. You know, how do they work with their clients? And they should be able to define that for you. It shouldn't just be, you know, ‘I'll meet with you in a month.’ It should be, ‘Here's when I meet with my clients semi-annually, annually, here's what we do in those meetings. Here's when you should expect to hear from me by phone or by email, your client events that we might have.’ So those are all things that you're looking for when trying to pick that right financial advisor.
[Host] Finally, Marshall says SunTrust clients have access to a unique tool when it comes to financial planning that allows them to collaborate with their advisors and monitor their financial progress.
[Marshall] This is a really exciting time for a lot of our clients because we now have access to SunTrust SummitView. SummitView is an online tool that allows our clients to organize all their financial information in one place so they can bring in accounts for different institutions. They can bring in accounts that are held, you know, with the 401(k), savings accounts, checking accounts, mortgages, and they can see everything, this 360 degree view, which allows them to not only have the ability to access that information daily and see it update daily, but now they have a holistic asset allocation.
It also allows them to track any transactions that may come in as a part of a checking account or a credit card. Clients love it because now they can go in and it makes budgeting or tracking spending so much easier, and especially in terms of, you know, how much do I need to consider for a retirement income? You know, what is a realistic number for me if I'm tracking towards that goal? So, they have all that information in one place, but what makes it kind of brilliant is the fact that it's tied to their financial plan. So clients can not only track these accounts, but they can also track, you know, I've gone over, I've worked with my SunTrust advisor. Here are my goals and here's where I stand today with those goals. Well, we've talked about some action steps that are gonna help me progress towards a more successful future, but now I can track that on my SummitView website as well.
[Host] For more information, contact your SunTrust advisor or learn more online at Suntrust.com/SummitView. If you enjoyed this podcast, please consider subscribing to the Private Wealth Management Podcast Channel via iTunes, or download our podcast app in the Google Play Store, by searching SunTrust.
Learn how to choose a financial advisor and what to expect from the advising process.
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