In-Person vs. Virtual: Should Your Financial Advisor Live in Your Area?
Money is one of the most personal and essential aspects of life. It makes sense that you may have felt more comfortable trusting someone you can get to know in person than on the phone or by email. But as more people meet safely online, it is worth considering the benefits of meeting face-to-face, remotely. Instead of everyone being in the same physical location, you may benefit from considering other factors. This can include gaining access to someone who has designations and certifications, areas of expertise, access to tailored solutions, and more.
While working with an advisor virtually is not new, the relevance of virtual advising has increased since Covid-19 surfaced. As we come out on the other side, many learned they prefer online communication. They don't have to spend precious time in traffic driving to someone's office for an in-person meeting. Short meetings are made more accessible as they only require a small time commitment and help you get to the next step more easily. If you're unsure if meeting face-to-face online is suitable for you, here are some questions to ask.
Am I Comfortable Utilizing Technology?
Meeting face-to-face is more often done over video chat, and Zoom, Skype, Micrsoft Teams, and other video conferencing tools are common. The benefit is that advisors can share their screens, go over important documents, and even have you virtually sign paperwork. When you’re not meeting virtually face-to-face, you’ll likely have access to view your portfolio and other financial information online.
Most advisors will work with you to make your experience as comfortable as possible. They can provide instructions for using their tools and answer any questions you may have to help ease your concerns. But if you’re still uncomfortable building a technology-heavy relationship with your advisor, working with someone local may be better.
What Services Do I Need?
The type of services you’re looking for from an advisor help shapes the relationship you build. Working together remotely may be preferred over meeting in person during office hours if you have a demanding schedule. On the other hand, if you choose to work closely with your advisor, 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 critical 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 this in your area. If that’s the case, it may be worth working with someone virtually who can provide the expertise desired.
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 is there, and it’s being utilized by thousands of advisors, brokers and agents all across Canada. 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.
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