Magazine

4 Good Reasons to Break Up With Your Financial Advisor

By Emily Green

Maybe you read that New York Times article on why women could be better investors than men. Or maybe your advisor just doesn’t seem to get you. You’re feeling like you want out.

So, you start to dial his number, one last time. But then you remember how he helped you get a mortgage on your first house, or the time he helped you divide your assets after you got divorced, or the fact that he’s been your advisor for 20 years. Are your standards unreasonably high?

4 Good Reasons to Break Up With Your Financial Advisor

As a financial advisor on Ellevest’s Private Wealth Management team, I hear from women who feel this way a lot. But we spend so much time making sure we have good doctors to protect our health and good caretakers to protect our kids. Isn't it time we start vetting our financial advisors the same way?

So here are four good reasons to break up with that advisor who might be holding your bottom line back.

1. You’re way more committed than they are

First, let me tell you: Financial advisors know that once they’ve hooked a client, that client is likely to stick with them for a very long time. In fact, one study found that over a three year period, the number of new clients added per advisor steadily declined.

That financial advisor depends on your decision to stay put. They know that if they keep doing what they’ve always done, you’re still probably going to stay. (I once actually heard an advisor at a big bank tell clients that he knew they weren’t staying because of his level of service — they were staying because they would always feel too guilty to fire him.)

2. They just don’t communicate

In a survey conducted by Financial Advisor magazine, the top reason advisors said they’d been fired by their clients was lack of timely communication.

You deserve to have your financial advisor listen to you — about everything from your goals and investment preferences to making changes that will allow your values to be reflected in your investment portfolio. If you tell him that you want to move your portfolio to an environmentally friendly set of funds, he should listen … and then move your portfolio.

And if something big happens in your life, you should feel comfortable enough with your advisor that you give them a call, shoot them an email, or send them a text. And you should know that they’re going to a) care and b) listen.

And you deserve to have them tell you important information, too. You don’t have to stand for any of that “Don’t you worry your pretty little head, I’ll take care of everything” baloney. (Or that “Can you put your husband on the phone?” baloney.)

3. They aren’t pulling their weight around here

OK, real talk: If someone reporting to you at work didn’t listen to you and didn’t do the job, you’d (probably) fire them. If a romantic partner never returned your calls, you’d (definitely) be Splitsville.

Your interests > your financial advisor’s interests. Make sure everyone’s on the same page about that — and that they’re actually doing the things to make it true.

(Oh, and btw, research shows that women investment managers earn higher investing returns than men. Why? Perhaps because they trade less — and making trades costs money.)

4. Your values aren’t aligned

Over the past five years or so, I’ve had so many women ask me if it’s OK to part ways with an advisor who doesn’t align with their core values. To which I say a resounding: yes. (Especially if they hit you with some 1995-era nonsense like investing for your values means you’ll be giving up on returns.) Say goodbye to that advisor and hello to someone who can help you invest with an impact lens.

Of course, it’s not just about the advisor — the firm is important, too. Is their team diverse? Do they sneak forced arbitration clauses into their agreements? Find a firm that truly supports you instead.

The relationships we have with our financial advisors affect almost every aspect of our lives — our money is what allows us to do things like support our loved ones, start great businesses, and leave corporate jobs for something more meaningful. So why should this be any different?

Click here to contact an Ellevest financial advisor in your area.


Disclosures

© 2021 Ellevest, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

All opinions and views expressed by Ellevest are current as of the date of this writing, for informational purposes only, and do not constitute or imply an endorsement of any third party’s products or services.

Information was obtained from third party sources, which we believe to be reliable but not guaranteed for accuracy or completeness.

The information provided should not be relied upon as investment advice or recommendations, does not constitute a solicitation to buy or sell securities and should not be considered specific legal, investment or tax advice.

The information provided does not take into account the specific objectives, financial situation or particular needs of any specific person.

Investing entails risk including the possible loss of principal and there is no assurance that the investment will provide positive performance over any period of time.

Emily Green

Emily joined Ellevest after seven years with JP Morgan, where she focused on the needs of high-net-worth families. Today, she’s a financial advisor on Ellevest’s Private Wealth Management team, working with clients to help them develop personalized long-term investment plans that align with their goals and values.