In early 2020, governments around the globe took drastic measures to slow the spread of Covid-19. As a result, we saw a major shift in the way we work, interact with others, and go about our daily lives. While working with an advisor virtually is nothing new, the relevance of virtual (yet personalized) advice has increased significantly amidst the global pandemic.
Money is one of the most personal and important aspects of your life, meaning you may feel more comfortable trusting someone you can get to know in-person. But with today’s technology and the ongoing need for continued social distancing, now’s the perfect time to consider whether working with a local advisor is a necessity or not.
Instead of physical location, it may be more prudent to consider other factors, such as professional designations and certifications, years of experience, areas of expertise, and overall likeability and competency on your particular situation. As recent research indicates, a virtual financial planning relationship can be just as effective and potentially more efficient than working face-to-face.
As you consider whether or not to work with someone in your area or beyond, ask yourself the following questions.
Am I Comfortable Utilizing Technology?
Virtual advisors will likely want to meet with you face-to-face over video chat, whether through Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting or other video conferencing tools. They’ll likely want to share their screen with you, go over important documents, and even have you virtually sign paperwork. When you’re not meeting virtually via videoconference, phone, or email, you’ll likely have 24/7 access to view your portfolio and other financial information online.
Financial planners who have embraced the virtual relationship will work with you to try to make your experience as comfortable as possible. They can provide instructions for using their software tools and answer any questions you may have to help ease your concerns. But if you’re still uncomfortable with building a technology-heavy relationship with your advisor, working with someone local may be better.
What Services Do I Need?
The types of services you’re looking for from an advisor may shape the type of relationship you’re looking to build. If you’d prefer to remain fairly hands-off or you have a demanding schedule, working together virtually may be much more preferred than meeting in-person during office hours. On the other hand, if you prefer to work together closely with your advisor, or to drop by their office to ask a question or check-in often, you may be more comfortable working with an advisor within driving distance.
Do I Need an Advisor With Certain Expertise?
Another important consideration is experience and credentials. If you need someone with a specific niche (such as handling student loan debt for medical professionals), there may not be an advisor who specializes in that in your area. If that’s the case, it may be worth working with someone virtually who can provide the expertise you’re looking for.
In a world that’s gone virtual, working with an advisor simply because they are local is no longer a necessity. The technology to build a well-developed relationship virtually now exists and it’s being utilized by thousands of financial planners around the globe. The important thing is to determine what you’re comfortable doing when it comes to your money and finding a partner who will be compatible and capable of helping you reach your goals.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information and is provided by Strategic Financial Planning, Inc. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information only. Please consult professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation.