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9 High-Value Intangibles to Look for When Hiring a Financial Advisor

By Dan Miller, CFP® 

When it comes to managing your financial future, finding the right financial advisor and investment firm is crucial. Beyond technical expertise, credentials, and pricing, there are intangible qualities that can greatly enhance the value a financial advisor brings to the table.

In this blog post, we will discuss nine high-value intangibles that you should look for when hiring a financial advisor. These qualities go beyond the numbers and can make a significant difference in your experience throughout your financial journey.

1. An Advisor You Can Trust

Above all, trust is the foundation of a successful advisor-client relationship. Seek a financial advisor who demonstrates unwavering integrity, transparency, and ethical conduct. Look for testimonials, referrals, and a track record of putting clients' interests first.

2. Continuity of the Firm

No one wants to be switching advisors every few years because they leave the business, retire, or move away. When you choose a financial advisor, it's essential to think about what happens if something unexpected occurs. We all know that life can throw curveballs, and your advisor passing away is one of those tough possibilities. That's why it's important to find an advisory firm that has a plan in place.

They should have a backup team ready to step in if needed, so your financial needs are still taken care of. It's like having a backup quarterback on the team to ensure the game keeps going, even if the star player has to sit out. With a solid plan in place, you can have confidence knowing your financial progress won't miss a beat.

3. Clear Communication Skills

Effective communication is crucial in understanding complex financial concepts. A skilled advisor will have the ability to explain intricate strategies and investment options in a clear and concise manner. They should actively listen to your concerns and questions, ensuring that you fully comprehend your financial plan. Moreover, it's important for your advisor to keep you updated on timely topics and changes in the financial landscape. However, this aspect of their role is often taken for granted.

4. Personalized Approach

No one wants a cookie cutter investment portfolio or solution to their very specific, unique circumstances. Every client's financial situation is different, and a great advisor recognizes this. They will take the time to understand your goals, risk tolerance, and specific position. Look for an advisor who tailors their advice and solutions to your individual needs, providing a customized plan that aligns with your goals. Want to buy a vacation home in Florida when you retire? They should help you come up with a plan to see if it is possible, and then help guide you in the right direction to get there.

5. ‘Big-Picture’ Financial Perspective

A top-notch financial advisor understands that financial success extends beyond investment returns. They take a comprehensive approach, considering factors such as tax efficiency, estate planning, insurance coverage, and retirement income strategies. They proactively anticipate and plan for potential life events, market fluctuations, and regulatory changes. A forward-thinking advisor will regularly review and adjust your financial plan to ensure it remains aligned with your goals. Seek an advisor who addresses the bigger picture to optimize your overall financial well-being.

6. Empathy and Emotional Support

Financial decisions can be emotionally charged, especially during significant life transitions. An empathetic financial advisor will recognize and acknowledge your concerns, offering guidance and support along the way. They should act as trusted confidants, helping you navigate financial challenges with confidence.

7. Continual Education and Expertise

The financial industry is ever evolving, with new investment products and strategies emerging regularly. A reputable advisor stays up to date with industry trends, pursues ongoing education, and maintains relevant certifications. Look for a professional who demonstrates a commitment to continual learning and professional growth. Additionally, it's important that the advisor is willing to share their experience with you. While they may be the professionals, we believe in educating our clients about the strategies we use. This helps build trust, as it's difficult to fully trust someone who doesn't explain their actions or reasoning.

8. Collaborative Approach

An exceptional financial advisor will view the advisory relationship as a partnership. They actively engage you in the decision-making process, seeking your input and involving you in setting financial goals. A collaborative approach ensures that you have a sense of ownership and are comfortable with the recommended strategies.

9. Long-Term Relationship Focus

Building a solid long-term relationship with your financial advisor is vital for your financial success. Seek an advisor who is dedicated to your long-term goals and offers ongoing support. Regular reviews, performance monitoring, and periodic adjustments to your financial plan are signs of an advisor committed to your financial well-being.

When hiring a financial advisor, technical knowledge and experience are important, but don't overlook the intangible qualities that can significantly enhance your experience and outcomes. Seek an advisor who embodies trustworthiness, has a succession plan, clear communication, personalization, a ‘big-picture’ perspective, empathy, experience, collaboration, and a focus on building a long-term relationship. By considering these high-value intangibles, you'll be well on your way to finding the right financial advisor to guide you toward a secure and prosperous financial future.


Dan Miller, Kaleb Robuck and Marcus Taylor are investment adviser representatives of, and securities and advisory services are offered through, USA Financial Securities Corp. Member FINRA/SIPC. A Registered Investment Advisor located at 6020 E Fulton St., Ada, MI 49301. Milestone Financial Group is not affiliated with USA Financial Securities.