Get the Marcus mobile banking app

Easy mobile access. Download the app

4 Signs You’re Ready to Change Financial Advisors

Share this article

What we'll cover

  • Poor communication is a top reason why some people leave their financial advisors. 
  • If you feel more confused than reassured after a check-in with your advisor, that could be a sign it’s time to consider working with someone new
  • Before you make a switch, you’ll want to make sure you understand the cost of changing financial advisors

When you think about the relationships in your life, your financial advisor is probably not among the people who come to mind. 

But in many ways, working with an advisor is a lot like being in a relationship. Trust, communication and clear expectations are essential. Plus, this is someone you’re entrusting with your hard-earned money. So you’ll want to make sure you’re both on the same page when it comes to what you want to accomplish and how to get after those goals. 

If you ever feel like you’re not being heard or getting what you need out of your advisor, a change may be in order. 

Switching financial advisors may not be the easiest of decisions, especially if you or your family have been with them for a while. But just as with other relationships, if it’s not working out, you’re allowed to move on. 

Here are four signs that you may be ready to work with a new advisor. 

1. Poor communication: You’re being left on read

Poor communication is a top reason why some people leave their financial advisors. If they’re not returning your calls or emails, you may start to wonder what you’re paying for. 

To be sure, financial advisors usually work with a lot of clients. Still, they should be responsive whenever you have questions, want to update your financial plan or just want to have someone to talk to about the inevitable ups and downs of the markets. 

Whether it’s calls, office visits or quarterly reports, regular communication can help your advisor stay up to date on your needs and any milestones that may impact your goals. A plan you put together 10 or 15 years ago (or even 2 years ago) may no longer serve you. Getting married, having a child or receiving a serious salary bump at work are a few examples of major life events that are worth a check-in. 

And in times of economic uncertainty, you may want to hear from your advisor too. Think back to the last time the markets were jittery. Did your advisor reach out to offer reassurances to help you stay calm during volatility? Or go over ways you could adjust your investment strategy to help you stay on track for your goals?

Open communication goes both ways. You shouldn’t always be the one reaching out. A proactive advisor will check in regularly. If you feel like your advisor is leaving you hanging, it might be time to switch. 

 

2. You don’t feel comfortable with your financial advisor

Pay attention to how you feel when you check in with your financial advisor. Do you dread calling them or avoid sharing certain aspects of your finances?

If you feel more confused than reassured after your chat, that could be a sign it’s time to break up. A good financial advisor should be there to listen without judgment and be able to explain their recommendations clearly. 

While you don’t have to be best friends with your advisor, you should have a good rapport. Remember, this is the person you rely on for financial guidance and with whom you share intimate financial details that you may not share with anyone else. A sense of personal connection can make a difference in how well you work together. 

Now, that’s not to say you’re going to feel comfortable all the time. Because every now and then, you may have to tackle some uncomfortable money topics or conversations with your advisor.

But when working with them, you should feel heard and at ease to ask questions. 

3. You’re not getting the personalized advice you need

Financial planning is dynamic. Is your financial advisor able to keep up with your changing needs and tailor their strategies for you accordingly? 

Not all financial advisors are created equal. They come with different specializations and expertise. For instance, some may only specialize in buying, selling or trading investments. (And perhaps that was all you needed when you first hired your advisor.) 

But if your needs have become more sophisticated and you want more personalized advice – say, someone with tax planning know-how or impact investing experience, then maybe it’s time to consider a new advisor who has the expertise you’re looking for. 

4. They’re charging high fees, but you’re not getting much value

How much are you paying your advisor? Check your statements and ask yourself whether the value of their advice and service is worth the fee. You may want to do some comparison shopping.  

Fee structures for advisors can vary, depending on the advisor and the services they provide. Some are fee-only; others work on a commission. Some may charge a flat rate or go by the hour.  

Generally speaking, the fee for a financial advisor can typically run between 1-2 % per year of assets under management. 

For those who charge hourly rates, they can land anywhere between $120 to $300 depending on the advisor, complexity of the service and where you live (for more details, visit AdvisoryHQ.com).  

How to change financial advisors

If you’ve found a new advisor you want to work with, here are three steps to help you get started.  

  1. Understand the costs of changing financial advisors. Before you make any moves, review your contract for details about closing an account with your current advisor. Some key things to look out for are account closing fees, exit fees, transfer limitations and liquidation requirements. Your new advisor can usually go over what potential costs and taxes to expect and help handle the logistics of transferring your money and accounts – if a transfer is necessary. (It may be the case where you’re simply switching out the advisor managing your account. In other words, you’re not moving your money to another firm.) 
  2. Give your old advisor a heads-up. Breaking up can be hard, but this could be a quick call or email. (Some firms may require a formal termination letter.) The process doesn’t have to feel awkward or confrontational. You can explain your decision if you want, but keep things cordial as you may need them to work with your new advisor behind the scenes to facilitate any necessary transfers. Also, you never know if you need to contact them later on for certain records or documents (like forms for tax season).   
  3. Gather your old documents. If you are transferring your assets to a new firm, it’s a good idea to get copies of your documents and statements for recordkeeping. You may be able to download them yourself before your account officially closes. 

This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for individualized professional advice. Articles on this site were commissioned and approved by Marcus by Goldman Sachs®, but may not reflect the institutional opinions of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., Goldman Sachs Bank USA or any of their affiliates, subsidiaries or divisions.