Cook Wealth Management Group

What Questions Should I Ask When Selecting a Wealth Advisor?

You may be looking for help from a wealth advisor for a number of reasons – you’re buying a new home, you’re planning for retirement or your children’s education, or you simply don’t have the time or expertise to get your finances in order. We recommend asking any potential advisor the following questions. We’ve provided our answers; does our style and approach fit your needs?

1. What experience do you have?

Experience is one of our core strengths. Founded in 1984, and serving successful executives, business owners, retirees, and their heirs, Cook Wealth Management Group has extensive experience in financial planning, accounting and taxation, corporate finance, private banking, investments, private equity, insurance, and even counseling. With over 100 years of combined experience in the financial planning industry, we know what questions to ask and how to customize a plan to help you achieve your unique goals.

2. Who do you typically help?

In order to ensure the highest level of service for all our clients, we do have guidelines for accepting new clients. We work with people whom we believe we can effectively help to succeed over time. We look at each new client relationship as an opportunity to build a long-term partnership.

Our diverse client base includes many small to mid-size business owners, entrepreneurs, and corporate executives. Clients come to us initially for a variety of needs, including:

  • Preparing for retirement
  • Planning for taxes
  • Managing investments
  • Preserving an inheritance
  • Transitioning to a new job
  • Dealing with a death in the family or a divorce
  • Handling an IRS audit
  • Planning for a parent’s long term care
  • Saving for a child’s college education
  • Starting a new business

3. Is your investment approach cautious or aggressive?

Neither. Our approach is client-specific, based on individual risk tolerance and individual goals.

4. What are your qualifications?

Our team members are recognized as CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals and/or Certified Public Accountants (CPA). We also have experience in insurance, tax planning, investment management, estate planning, retirement planning, debt management, charitable giving, and more. For more details, please review our bios.

5. How do you stay current with changes and developments in the financial planning field?

Maintaining our licenses and certifications through ongoing ethics, continuing education, and professional development courses and seminars is a minimum requirement at Cook Wealth, as is staying up to date on the latest tax codes, market issues, estate law, healthcare benefits, retirement savings strategies, and more. Our entire team is committed to lifelong learning, continually attending leading edge professional training and actively taking part in several professional organizations, including the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Financial Planning Association.

6. What services do you offer?

Our holistic approach to financial planning includes the following suite of services:

  • Financial Planning (including Estate Planning, & Asset Protection)
  • Asset Management (Customized Portfolio Design & Monitoring)
  • Tax Planning (Optimization, Estimates, & Preparation)

7. Will I work exclusively with one advisor?

Cook Wealth is proud to offer the help of a team of professionals, each member aptly suited to assist you in his/her area of expertise. Cook Wealth’s team approach means each team member will be aware of your needs and preferences. Your lead advisor will work with our tax professionals, client services managers, and additional wealth advisors to provide world-class service based on your customized plan.

In addition, we offer the services of our select partners. While the majority of our services are provided in-house, we also coordinate with estate attorneys, property & casualty agents, bankers, and more to give you service you deserve.

8. How much do you typically charge?

The amount we charge will depend on your particular needs and the way in which you choose to take advantage of our services. Whether you pay for our suite of services, or choose just one or two services, we can provide you with an estimate of possible costs based on the work to be performed. While you may pay separately for one service, we can add the most value by providing a comprehensive, long term, holistic approach to your finances – working on your entire financial picture, each piece of the puzzle – just as we do for a majority of our clients.

Cook Wealth is 95% fee based.

We charge an initial wealth planning fee and an ongoing maintenance fee. For unique, extenuating circumstances, an hourly fee may apply.

Being a primarily fee-based business means we are on your side of the fence – we only succeed if you succeed.

Fee for each: Asset Management, Wealth Planning, Life Planning

Commission: Life, Disability, and Long Term Care Insurance, College Savings Accounts (529 Plans)

Varied: Tax Planning (dependent upon each client situation)

9. Do you benefit from recommending outside contacts?

We receive no monetary compensation for our recommendations. We selectively choose professionals that we believe will provide you the same world-class level of service you receive from us. We recommend our select partners only to help you succeed.

10. Have you ever been publicly disciplined for any unlawful or unethical actions in your professional career?

No. FINRA, state insurance and securities departments, and the CFP and CPA Boards keep records on the disciplinary history of financial planners and advisors. Having assisted clients for decades, our company and its history are sound and reputable.

11. Can I have it in writing?

We want to be fully aware of your expectations, and we want you to be fully aware of ours. No mystery, no surprises. In order to provide full transparency of the way we work for you, we supply you with hard copies of all relevant disclosure statements and client agreements. Here are descriptions of just a few:

  • After you become a client, we present you with an Investment Policy Statement, which we both sign. The IPS is a written agreement that details the customized way in which we’ll approach your investments; it outlines our expectations and yours.
  • We also provide you with a disclosure document called the Investment Advisor Form ADV Part II which explains the investment platform and the services provided by LPL Financial, our broker/dealer.
  • After each wealth plan update meeting, we send you a Meeting Summary which lists the items we discussed and reiterates any pending actions – our responsibilities and yours – to ensure we are taking the right steps to help you make your ideal life your real life.

We’ll be happy to answer any other questions. Please call us at 1-888-852-8529 or email one of our team members.

Questions derived from the Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc.