Just like with that person you dated in college, don’t let your relationship with your financial planner linger if it’s just not working for you.
So you grab lunch with a coworker and he tells you he came in a little late today. He spent the morning at the doctor for a routine checkup and is groaning about how much he hates going. He says his doctor always makes him wait far past his appointment time, doesn’t really make him feel comfortable, and speaks in complicated medical jargon rather than explaining things in plain English. Your first thought: It’s time to find a new doctor!
The answer is obvious, but it’s not always easy to break up with the medical professional in your life. The same can be said for your financial planner. Maybe you’ve been seeing your planner for a long time, he or she is a friend of your family, or you just find it awkward to “break up.”
Don’t panic! Here are some tips to seamlessly break up with your financial planner and move on to greener pastures.
- Make your case. You will have your reasons for wanting to move on from a financial professional, but it will be helpful to think through the rationale. Why exactly are you unhappy with him or her right now? If you are worried about paying too much in fees, it may be helpful first to understand exactly what you are paying. You can look through your statements or online account and try to determine the cost yourself or simply ask your advisor for an analysis of all your costs. Having all the pertinent information can make a break up much smoother.
- Be honest and upfront. Having a concrete, quantifiable reason for wanting to dump your planner is great, but oftentimes it’s the softer side of the equation that may be irking you. Your best bet is to be honest. If you are feeling like your planner just doesn’t “get you,” don’t be afraid to express your concerns. Keep things professional, thank them for the work that they did, and be prepared for some pushback. Remember, you are in the driver’s seat and your feelings about your planner are always valid.
- Don’t stress, your planner may be thinking the same thing. Financial planners oftentimes have a number of clients and each of them is very different. Some clients are a better fit than others, especially when considering values, communication and work styles. If you are being nagged by the feeling that your planner just isn’t a good fit for you, don’t be surprised if he or she may be feeling the exact same way. A break up may be a relief to both of you.
- Have a Plan B in place. Consider your options and decide which is the best next step for you. Consider finding a new planner who better serves your needs, or go it alone. There are a number of services out there that help educate and guide individuals who want to manage their own financial lives without hiring their own personal planner.
- Ghost. It may not feel like the most Grownup approach, but you always have the option to say nothing. You’ll just want to make sure you aren’t continuing to pay any advisory fees for a planner you are no longer meeting with or taking advice from. You may be able to call the general customer service number if your planner is associated with a larger institution and sever the relationship. If you decide to work with someone new, your new planner can reach out to the former and assist with any account transfers that may need to happen.
Just like with that person you dated in college, don’t let the relationship linger if it’s just not working for you. Your financial well-being is your priority here, and if your needs would be better served elsewhere, never be afraid to make your move.
Grownups, have you broken up with a financial planner in the past? Let us know how you did it by leaving a comment below!
Karen Car Brady is the founder of Simplie, a financial planning company that offers virtual appointments with CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals. Karen is a former member of the Society of Grownups planning team and is now based in New York City. When she’s not writing about personal finance or meeting with clients, you can find her roaming around NYC looking for the best place to eat.