Women & Wealth: What to Ask a Financial Adviser on Retirement

Women & Wealth: Questions to Ask a Financial Adviser About Retirement

For high-net-worth women, a key step to growing and preserving your wealth is meeting with a financial adviser.

For high-net-worth women, a key step to growing and preserving your wealth is meeting with a financial adviser.

Why? Because there are unique women-and-wealth financial and retirement planning strategies that help lead to strong financial futures.

For your convenience, we’ve organized today’s post into three parts.

Part one is for women who have an adviser and includes retirement questions to ask your financial adviser during an annual review.

Part two is for women who don’t have an adviser and includes a list of due-diligence questions to ask when hiring one.

Part three reverses the situation and includes questions a prospective adviser may ask you.

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Part 1: Questions to Ask a Financial Adviser About Retirement

If you’re currently working with a financial adviser, there are several key questions to ask during your annual review, including:

Is my retirement income plan on track?

Is my financial plan still tax-efficient?

What is your asset rebalancing recommendation?

Am I still on track to claim Social Security as planned?

My goals have changed, do I need to update my financial plan?

There’s been a change in my family dynamics, e.g., birth, death, high-asset divorce, etc. Should I update my estate plans, get more life insurance or take any other steps?

I’m planning a large expense (think buying a home or paying for college). Do I need to update my approach?

Part 2: Questions to Ask a Prospective Financial Adviser

Limited communication is one of the key reasons people fire their financial advisers. It’s imperative, therefore, that you explore how your adviser communicates and whether their approach and availability meets your expectations.

To evaluate a prospective adviser’s communication approach, ask these questions:

How often will I hear from you and through what format (e.g., call, email, text)?

Who will be my main contact?

Will we meet in person or virtually, and how often?


You wouldn’t hire a doctor to coordinate your estate plans or tell you when to claim Social Security—it also goes without saying that you wouldn’t put a newbie adviser in charge of managing your hard-earned life savings.

Candidly, all three retirement planning components are critical for building a financially secure retirement.

To understand if you’re hiring a skilled financial adviser, ask these questions:

What are your qualifications (e.g., education, certifications, etc.)?

How long have you been a financial adviser?

How do you keep abreast of industry trends?

Who do you rely on when you don’t know the answer?

How many clients do you have?

What is your client retention rate?

What is your business continuity plan?


Financial adviser fees impact your portfolio returns, including non-obvious ones, like commissions paid to an adviser after making a stock trade on your behalf (back-end load).

To avoid hidden fees, work with a fiduciary like us. We don’t receive commissions or sell you products we don’t invest in ourselves.

Tip: At Adviser Investments, we’re extremely selective when it comes to annuities. An annuity may make sense if you’re concerned you’ll outlive your assets. Understand if one is right for you. Read our post: Annuities 101

When you hire a fiduciary to create a financial plan or manage your assets, there are generally four methods of payment: Hourly, monthly, project-based or a percentage of assets.

To understand what your all-in costs are when doing business with a financial adviser, ask these questions:

How do you get paid?

Do you receive commissions or bonuses from financial institutions?

What are my total costs?

Tip: Many women buy or sell their homes after divorce or being widowed. If you’re contemplating making a move, listen to our AdviseHer podcast: How to Know When Homebuying’s Right For You.

Part 3: Questions a Financial Adviser May Ask You

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Now it’s your financial adviser’s turn to ask questions. Therefore, when meeting with a prospective adviser, be prepared to answer the following:

How did you hear about us?

Are you currently working with an adviser?

Why are you looking for a financial adviser?

What are you expecting from an adviser?

What are your greatest financial concerns?

What are your short- and long-term goals?

What are your financial obligations?

Do you have a budget?

Have there been any big changes in your life recently, (e.g., illness, job change, etc.)?

What are your future plans?

Next Steps

High-net-worth women have unique retirement planning needs that become more critical as you approach retirement. Meeting with an experienced financial adviser can help you grow your wealth and understand the steps needed to withdraw your money tax-efficiently during retirement. If you want help navigating life’s financial complexities, contact Adviser anytime for assistance. We pride ourselves on being The Planner You Can Talk To.

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Tax and legal information contained herein is general in nature, is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal or tax advice.  Personalized tax advice and tax return preparation is available through a separate, written engagement agreement with Adviser Investments Tax Solutions. We do not provide legal advice. Always consult a licensed attorney or tax professional regarding your specific legal or tax situation.

Our statements and opinions are subject to change without notice.  All investments carry risk of loss and there is no guarantee that investment objectives will be achieved.

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