The 4 “T’s” of finding a financial advisor

When searching for a financial advisor, we recommend you use a defined process to help you make an informed decision.

Since we are base in Tacoma, Washington (“T”acoma), here are the 4 ‘T’s” to finding the right advisor for you: 


Having trust in an advisor will not only give you peace of mind, but often the confidence needed to follow a financial plan. Trust is built as your advisor gets to know you and you learn about them. Here are a few ideas that will help start the trust building process

  • Identify 2-3 advisors to meet with. Meeting multiple advisors will allow you to compare personalities and styles. Taking the time to speak with more than one advisor is always worth it.
  • Try to speak in person or on a video conference. Seeing body language and mannerism can be informative.
  • Search for the advisor on BrokerCheck is a free service and provides an advisor’s history as well as any formal disclosures.  
  • Learn about any potential advisor’s team. A good advisor will always make time to talk with you, but many of your interactions will with the office staff. Make sure the team supporting the advisor is top notch.      
  • Your advisor should be a fiduciary (legally obligated to act in your best interest). 


When you ask a question, you should expect an advisor to give you a complete answer.  You should also sense that your advisor wants to help you understand. Acting as a good teacher will help you build trust (see the first point) and demonstrates that the advisor is competent and cares about your concerns.  

When searching for an advisor, ask questions. Evaluate not only what they say, but how they say it.


Professionals need to get paid, and that is not a bad thing. But how an advisor gets paid is important. Different pay structures have pros and cons. Be sure to ask why the pay structure they are proposing is good for you (and not just them)!

Paying an advisor is only part of a client’s total cost. Many investments charge an additional fee. Be wary if an advisor makes more money for putting you in certain investments. Even if the advisor doesn’t receive additional money themselves, they should be able to justify why a certain investment is worth the cost you are paying.

It may be worth getting a second opinion on your investments if you are concerned you are overpaying.


Different advisors will take different approaches to investing. Some will encourage choosing diversified mutual funds, while other will advocate buying and holding individual company stock. Some advisors prefer bonds, while others prefer insurance-based investing products. If you have a preference, find an advisor that lines up with your goals!

Along the same lines, some investors want to be really involved in the planning and execution, and other investors want an advisor to “just take care of it”. Neither approach is wrong, but make sure your expectation match that of the advisor. 

***You have lots of choices for where to get your financial advice. Ideally, the relationship you build with an advisor will be of benefit to you for years. Take your time in the search and find the fit that is right for you.***

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Content in this material is for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual 

All investing involves risk including loss of principal. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.

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