Is It Time For a New Financial Advisor? Additional Warning Signs

Additional Signs It’s Time to Fire Your Financial Advisor (Part 2 of 2)

Additional Signs It’s Time to Fire Your Financial AdvisorIn the previously published Summit blog entitled “3 Signs It’s Time to Fire Your Financial Advisor (Part 1 of 2)”, we discussed three red flags which likely indicate that you need to break up with your current financial advisor and find a new one. These three red flags were:

1.) You can never get in touch with your financial advisor;

2.) Your financial advisor asks you to do something shady, unethical, or illegal; and

3.) Your financial advisor is neither upfront nor transparent about his or her fees.

When managing your financial affairs with a financial advisor, leave your emotions at home and remember business is business. Despite how much you may like your financial advisor as a person or whether he or she is part of your social or professional network, if your financial advisor cannot do his or her job to your satisfaction, it’s chopping block time. Your money, your financial future, and the future of your family are all on the line—the stakes are too high to accept a financial advisor who is not meeting your needs. Remember, it’s “your money” and your financial advisor works for you, and not vice versa. When it comes to your finances, there no time, money, or energy to be a meek people-pleaser who is afraid to ask for what they want and even more afraid to cut ties when they are left disappointed when their needs are left unmet. Get out now or it’s only likely to get worse—often irreparably so.

Here are some additional warning signs that it’s time to fire your financial advisor:

1.) Your financial advisor’s recommendations don’t match your financial goals: For example, you tell your financial advisor that you want to buy a house with at least 40 percent paid up front in cash as a down payment, you want to be able to completely fund your three children’s college educations, and you have two aging parents who you are fiscally responsible for. After hearing this, your financial advisor then proceeds to recommend a whole slew of high-risk investments. This incongruence between your financial goals and responsibilities and what your financial advisor thinks you should do with your money is highly concerning. Such a discrepancy often indicates that your financial advisor is not listening to your needs, wants, and goals or simply doesn’t care about them and is likely not acting in your best interests.

2.) Your financial advisor recommends investments before getting to know your financial goals, needs, wants, and time-frame: This warning sign goes hand-in-hand with the above discussed warning sign. Financial advising is a highly individualistic process and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all financial advisory plan. While it’s acceptable for a financial advisor to have some standardized plans that can serve as an initial, cursory template for ultimately creating individualized plans for each client, your financial advisor should never make a “blind” recommendation without first taking the time to lay the initial groundwork and get to know who you are and what it is you want for your money and financial future. Would you trust a physician who gives you as well as every other patient that walks into his or her office the same prescription without first talking to you and examining you? No way! Accordingly, don’t accept one-size-fits-all, robotic chop-shop investment and financial plans from your financial advisor Find a new financial advisor who sees you as a person and not a number or a paycheck and appreciates that every person has a unique financial situation with specific needs, wants, goals and timelines for their financial future.

3.) Your financial advisor does not give you a written financial plan, documentation, or prospectus for every investment product. Don’t accept mere lip service or oral assurances and agreements from your financial advisor. But rather, demand that he or she “put it in writing.” If your financial advisor recommends an investment product, then he or she should provide you with a detailed written description of what the particular investment entails (including but not limited to its historical performance, inherent risks and rewards, and composition). These details can usually be found in the investment product prospectus—but this is really the bare minimum of what types of documentation you should receive from your financial advisor. It’s in your best interests to expect and ask for more from your financial advisor—demand a written financial and investment plan that covers your current financial situation and sets forth a roadmap to reach both your short and long term financial goals. It’s your money, so don’t accept shortcuts or sparse, undocumented information.

4.) Your financial advisor breaches your confidentiality or privacy laws: Federal law gives consumers the right to limit some, but not all, sharing of their personal information provided to their financial advisors. Federal law also requires financial advisors to tell client how they collect, share, and protect clients’ personal information. Individual companies and some state-specific laws may also give you additional rights to limit the sharing of this information. Federal law gives you the right to limit only: sharing for affiliates’ everyday business purposes- information about your creditworthiness; affiliates from using your information to; and sharing for non-affiliates to market to you. When you begin working with a financial advisor, he or she should give you a written copy of his firm’s or independent broker dealer firm’s privacy policy. Your financial advisor and his firm are responsible for safeguarding your personal and financial information. Make sure you read the privacy policy carefully and if you have questions, your financial advisor should be willing and able to explain any issues you may have. A copy of independent broker dealer firm Summit Brokerage’s privacy policy is available online here. If your financial advisor does not follow their firm’s privacy policy and/or federal and state laws and accordingly breaches your privacy, this is a big red flag. You need to find a financial advisor you can trust with your protected information and who will always respect your privacy in accordance with his or her firm’s privacy policy and any applicable laws.

For more information on boutique independent broker dealer firm Summit Brokerage Services and our independent financial advisors, visit or contact us at (800) 354-5528.


About Summit Brokerage Services, Inc.

Summit Brokerage Services is part of Cetera Financial Group. Summit Brokerage provides a broad range of securities brokerage and investment services to primarily individual investors. Summit Brokerage also sells insurance products, predominantly fixed and variable annuities and life insurance through its subsidiary, SBS Insurance Agency of Florida. Summit Brokerage also provides asset management services through its investment advisor, Summit Financial Group, Inc.


About Cetera Financial Group

Cetera Financial Group® (“Cetera”) is a leading network of independent retail broker-dealers empowering the delivery of objective financial advice to individuals, families and company retirement plans across the country through trusted financial advisors and financial institutions.  Cetera is the second-largest independent financial advisor network in the nation by number of advisors, as well as a leading provider of retail services to the investment programs of banks and credit unions.

Through its multiple distinct firms, Cetera offers independent and institutions-based advisors the benefits of a large, established broker-dealer and registered investment adviser, while serving advisors and institutions in a way that is customized to their needs and aspirations.  Advisor support resources offered through Cetera include award-winning wealth management and advisory platforms, comprehensive broker-dealer and registered investment adviser services, practice management support and innovative technology.  For more information, visit

*”Cetera Financial Group” refers to the network of retail independent broker-dealers encompassing, among others, Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities, Girard Securities, The Legend Group and Summit Brokerage Services.


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