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When to ‘Swipe Right’ on Your Financial Adviser

March 27, 2019

Managing your relationship and your wealth aren’t so different.

Sponsored by Schechter

Photography by Erin Kirkland

Are they listening to me? Do they return my calls? Do they have my best interest in mind? Do I see this lasting long term?

While you may associate these questions with dating or relationships, the same could be applied when selecting the right firm and financial adviser.

SEEN spoke with Ilana Liss, managing director at Schechter in Birmingham, to provide a woman’s perspective on qualities to look for in a financial suitor.

“Men and women have similar goals when initially planning their wealth: grow,” Liss says. “It’s when we talk about the future that needs and issues diverge.”

Controlling half of the personal wealth in the U.S., Liss adds women are earning more money and inheriting more wealth than ever before. “Women are watching their mothers face widowhood, cleaning up estate issues, helping children with college expenses and becoming savvier about financial issues,” she says. “Advisers need to treat them as such.”


Schecher financial adviser Ilana Liss.

What are the Personal Qualities to Look for in an Adviser…Other Than Smart?

  1. Good listener: It’s important for the adviser to ask questions and listen so they understand the client’s priorities.
  2. Respectful: Both men and women want to be in a relationship with an adviser where they are respected, their opinions are considered, and their questions are answered.
  3. Consultative: Women of wealth are not looking for “let me handle this for you.” They want to be consulted as a person with unique needs and goals.
  4. Understanding: An adviser should understand a woman’s journey may be different than a man’s. In general, most women outlive their husbands, so they want to know there is enough wealth for them to live well as they age. They want to travel and enjoy their grandchildren, but also have enough money if their health fails and they need care.

Next steps: Do some homework, seek a reputable firm and interview a potential adviser. Ask for recommendations from friends or peers in similar situations — with a similar career, wealth and goals. Look for an advisory firm that has been in business and in the community for years with a strong reputation.

Communication is Key

It is important your adviser knows your communication style and is willing to meet you there. Be sure you find an adviser who will be available when you need him or her, whether that’s occasionally in person, by email or by phone. A team approach with several contact people is also better than relying on the availability of one person.

Give Me Just the Facts

Women value honesty and transparency. Service fees should be understood and discussed upfront. If you walk away from the initial meeting without a clear understanding of what you’ll pay for services, be wary. If a firm is charging a fair fee for a level of service they are going to provide, they should be comfortable explaining this to you.

Look for a firm who can deliver a holistic approach to investing. Managing wealth is more than picking a mix of stocks and bonds. There are many asset classes and options. It is key to choose an adviser who has access to a broad range of investment opportunities and understands the tax impact of various strategies.



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