11 qualities that a Right Financial Adviser should have

POSTED BY Jagoinvestor ON January 12, 2012 COMMENTS (33)

I start my day as a student of wealth and engage my time and energy to find out ways of expressing myself as a million dollar financial adviser. Half way through my day, I spend time on calls talking to people, connecting with them and helping them along.

I feel blessed being into advisory business and I think that every adviser has in him the potential to show up as a million dollar adviser in his client’s financial life. A million dollar adviser is the one who creates his/her special place in the hearts of his clients. It certainly goes beyond advice and fees.

I want to develop myself and would love to see more and more advisers to show up as million dollar advisers because I know that good and authentic advice has a lot of power in it. You will find three types of advisory services in India:

  • Sales driven – where the primary goal is to sell as many, high margin investment products as possible
  • Goal driven – where the primary goal is to help people create a logical, rational investment plan that helps in meeting goals (and they charge a fixed fee for)
  • Change driven – where the primary goal is to create as much positive change as possible for their clients (which could also involve helping them work with emotional issues / relationship to money issues / etc)

Here are 11 things to look into your Financial Advisor

1. Your Adviser has to be RICH

If he is not rich how will he make you rich? His financial life has to be inspiring and should demonstrate how to live an extra-ordinary financial life. He is rich not just in terms of money but with the overall richness. He is rich with in his thoughts, with ideas, and with speaking and listening. You should feel empowered in every interaction you have with your adviser.

2. Who is ready to give a sweet kick on your ass

True advice may not be always sweet to hear and easy to digest. Million dollar advisors are fearless; they will step forward whenever they see casualness or reasons in their clients. They will fill your financial life with the right rigor. If the adviser really cares for his client than he won’t care how it will look to his client!

You may not like your adviser when he will do this but this will really move things in your financial life. He should be able to tell you the truth. Working with a million dollar adviser is never easy you need high level of commitment and should be willing to pay high fees to receive such high value.

3. Has a clear intention

Nothing happens outside of an intention, by ‘nothing’ I really mean nothing! It is very important to identify the intention of the person you are choosing. Intention is what will convert into actions when you will move forward with your adviser. All the make-up will wear off after a few meetings and the real intention (face) becomes visible.

Watch this video to know the types of financial advisers in India and their roll:

4. Work speaks more than experience or certification

When I started my practice I was really inspired by L Dolan who was a very famous Time Management Consultant. He used to advice mostly companies and groups. He had no visiting card, no brochure, no website, no videos or audio to show his work to his prospects. Yet he had 100% conversion.

All those who contacted him always became his clients. If someone wants to hire him he would send a box full of 500 hand-written heartfelt letters (Transformative Testimonials). This is what he used to do with all prospects and his conversion was 100%. His work would always get him more work.

It does not matter how many plans your advisor has created; what matters is how many financial lives they have changed. Even a new advisor can achieve this, he may have just one client’s work behind him but this one client’s transformation can lead him to become a million dollar advisor.

5. Advice Comes with Money Back Guarantee

A million dollar advisor has full confidence in his work and his ability to advice. If he feels you are not ready to work with him he will say a clear NO to you. He is not needy as needy is creepy. He has the guts to turn your offer down.

It is not the fees that will determine his choice it is your overall attitude that matters to him. Giving a money back guarantee is not to lure an investor or as a marketing gimmick but this is the confidence he has in his own work and his abilities.

6. One who helps you to un-learn

The real change and transformation comes from unlearning and you advisor has to help you attain this skill. This brings a change in ‘who you are’ as an investor as your myths and non-supportive beliefs about wealth creation gets stripped off.

7. Experts connect you with other experts

A real expert always connects you with other experts as he is always surrounded by good experts. If your advisor is a million dollar adviser he will connect you with the best of the experts or companies available in the market with different solutions for you. He will connect you with the best of the best so that things move faster in your financial life.

8. Does not believe in customers are always right

This is one of the best ways to measure your adviser. Do something stupid or commit a mistake and see what your adviser does with it- he is accepting your mistake, or appreciates you or gives you a negative feedback that “YOU ARE WRONG”.

All those advisory who believe in customers are always right are NOT million dollar advisers. They are moving in the market only to get business and to please people and not to serve people.

9. Helps you transform your financial habits

This is one area where most planners and investors do not focus. We are creatures of our habits some are supportive and some are not. Till you do not identify your unsupportive financial habits the world’s best advice won’t help you grow.

10. When shit happens he helps you to convert it into fertilizer

Our financial life is always a mix of good and bad experiences. It is not possible to find a person who always had only good experiences in his financial life. The million dollar adviser helps you grow from your mistakes. He talks about possibilities and helps you win with the cards you have.

Your million dollar adviser will make you okay with all these good and bad experiences and helps you grow.

11. One who Walks the Talk

Financial planners are not movie stars who are free not to use products/service that they endorse. True advice is not given, it is simply shared. Most planners don’t have their own financial plan because investors never ask for it. Your Planner has to have his own finances in place.

He should have his goals in place; and should be having his finances in place, he has his own strategies in place and sees that his financial goals are inspiring, full of life and energy. He has to be a disciplined investor himself. He himself is relaxed in the area of money.

The bottom line is your million dollar advisor is a stand for your financial success. He Helps you win with the cards you have, He will make money when you make money; He will suggest you products that he is ready to buy. Do share your views on the above 11 ways and which one is most appealing to you as an investor.

This week

  • Decide if you need professional help in your financial life or not?
  • What kind of advisor you would love to work with sales driven, Goal driven or Change driven? Are you ready to make a financial commitment?
  • Which of the above qualities you would like to see in your advisor?

This article is written by Nandish Desai and he likes to put his thoughts on Financial Coaching Conversations here on this blog

33 replies on this article “11 qualities that a Right Financial Adviser should have”

  1. kahnu says:

    Dear Manish can you please tell me what is Rajiv Gandhi equity saving scheme ? how can it helps me?? Is it a part of SIP?


  2. Anand Shinde says:

    I have shown the calculations in the earlier comment where u asked me to trim down the comment, if yuo see that the calculationsare clear.
    These are the columns
    Age|Monthly expense|Expense for a year|Amt remaining|Money in the bank with
    6% interest

  3. Anand Shinde says:

    Sorry the whole text was not copied properly, here it is

    Was just going through the link on Economic times , here the expert financial planners have a look at the current portfolio of a couple and suggest the changes to them for their portfolio in terms of paper assets (stocks, mutualfunds, debt funds etc), insurance and real estate and how should they go about building secure financial future (Not a life of abundance !)
    If you will read this article here the planner has assumed 8% inflation (wont debate on that).
    If the couple invests/allocates their hard earned money as per his suggestion their assets will grow around 12% in equities and 10 % in balanced portfolio.
    Here I am assuming that with the guidance of our financial expert the Couple is able to meet all there goals as below in the respective timelines:
    1. Home renovation 5.65 lacs
    2. Education for both the children 16 lacs
    The bread winner is 34 years of age, means he will retire in next 26 years.
    As per our expert his current expenses are excluding EMI (remember he has achieved all his goals, clearing house loan in 20 years also included) Rs 25300/-
    House hold expense 14000
    Insurance 6300
    MISC 5000
    Total 25300

    Now based on 8% year on year inflation, by the time the earning member reaches retirement age(60), his expense would be RS 187128/-
    Along with this he has also achieved his goal of Corpus of 2 CR.
    Now since he does not want to take risk of equities as his working days are over, he puts money into Saving account earning his 6% interest were as the inflation is 8%.

    In this scenario the expense and money in the bank will look like this:
    Age Monthly expense Expense for a year Amt remaining Money in the bank with
    6% interest
    20000000(Corpus at 60)
    61 202098 2425175.462 21200000 18774824.54
    62 218266 2619189.499 19901314.01 17282124.51
    63 235727 2828724.659 18319051.98 15490327.32
    64 254585 3055022.632 16419746.96 13364724.33
    65 274952 3299424.442 14166607.79 10867183.35
    66 296948 3563378.397 11519214.35 7955835.953
    67 320704 3848448.669 8433186.11 4584737.44
    68 346360 4156324.563 4859821.687 703497.1242
    69 374069 4488830.528 745706.9516 -3743123.576
    70 403995 4847936.97 -3967710.991 -8815647.961
    71 436314 5235771.928 -9344586.838 -14580358.77
    72 471219 5654633.682 -15455180.29 -21109813.97
    73 508917 6107004.376 -22376402.81 -28483407.19
    74 549630 6595564.726 -30192411.62 -36787976.35
    75 593601 7123209.905 -38995254.93 -46118464.83

    As per this plan the person who has worked extremely hard all his life (35 years approx if he starts at 25), will be able to survive only for 8 years after retirement that too if he maintains his current life style.
    I have not included the medical expenses at this point of time.
    If we consider medical expenses the number of survival years will drastically come down from 8, how many depends on the medical expenses if atall.

    Want to check with readers, you think the financial planner has secured the future of a person.
    For a layman like me he has not.

    You comments, suggestion please !

    1. Anand

      Really suggest that you trim down the question and ask that thing which is concerning you in this whole question

      1. Anand Shinde says:

        The financial planner has suggested a way where in the couple can save a corpus of 2cr by age 60 .
        Their current expense is around 25K pm, planner has considered inflation of 8%.
        If after retirement the the couple keeps the Corpus in savings in bank with 6% interest (as at that age they cannot take risk of equity),
        they will be able to survive only for 8 years, hence I feel the advice is wrong

        1. Anand

          But you have not done any calculation ? On what basis can you say its wrong !

          1. Anand Shinde says:

            See the calculations in the above comment

        2. Anand

          Ok let me understand the situation here .

          At retirement their expenses would be 187128 per month and a retirement corpus of 2 crores , now this 2 crores will be earning 6% and the inflation would still be 8% , so how much time this corpus will last . The answer here would be 8 yrs only (I did the calculations) .

          Yes as per this plan , they will be able to survive only 8 yrs , thats all .. but there are few things which I think are not that correct . First is the target of the retirement corpus . No sensible person in today’s world aim for 2 crore of corpus only .. it should be around 5-10 crores , also the inflation is taken at 8% after 35 yrs ? thats too much , considering that with time we will move like america and Uk and inflation will come down , same for return also !

  4. I know its really important to be active and alert when it comes to investment in the fast changing times and for that, a financial planner/adviser comes to the rescue of a normal investor/layman. But I doubt credibility of planners who belong to firms/ work as free lancers and need to sell their financial products. Till what extent can they be trusted in the advise that they give?

    1. Roshni

      No planner should be trusted blindly and his advices .. you should be wise enough and atleast knowledgeable to draw the learnings out of it and really understand how they work .


  5. rajivahuja says:

    After reading your article,I now understand -how important it is to get a good financial planner. Also how difficult it is.

  6. Satish says:

    Hi Manish

    Greate Article

    Could you please suggest me any million dollar advisor from Nasik -Maharashtra that he/she can guide me about my financial planning .

    1. Satish

      Better check FPSB Directory

      1. Satish says:

        Hi Manish
        Thanks for reply, could you please tell how and where i can check FPSB directory

  7. ajay sharma says:

    greatly said in these 11 points …really appriciable artical Nandish and Manish !!!!!!!!

    I am regular reader of your blogs they are really very intereesting and knowlegeable….

    1. Ajay

      Good to hear that .. keep coming 🙂

  8. Very nice thought great article representing the truth…

  9. Pramod says:

    Nice 1 .

  10. Daniel Madre says:


    Good one and Straight to the core…
    The Fin. Advsr. should be our alter ego…..

    1. nandish says:

      Thanks Daniel. We really want to raise the bar for both investors and for advisors.

  11. Aparna says:

    Awesome. Informative article. Each and every word in this article triggers a thought process. There is so much to learn and so much to implement

    1. nandish says:

      Aparna good to have you on the blog.It is great to have you as our client

  12. Srinivas says:


    But will it be possible for someone to deduce many of these points. For example, richness. How do you know. Similarly, testimonials. If you ask me, i will provide you with testimonials of the ones who praised me.

    Still i am not saying that these points are irrelevant. They are very relevant. But one needs time and some mistakes to know these practical differences.

    This brings us to the important aspect of learning. One should be(rather teach himself to be) in a position to understand things as he moves forward, as it in his own interest he is working.

    Also when one is drawing up a plan, he can take planner’s words. However, cross check the same continuously regularly.

    Thus, in addition to having a planner, it is more important to inculcate the habit of learning and keep learning as one progresses.

    1. nandish says:

      Srinivas Richness is a state of being and once you connect with someone fully you can experience it in your conversation. Nothing wrong when clients praise you but it should be authentic. Testimonials is nothing but your body of work that you carry and and build as you move forward.

      This advisor client relationship is special. As an investor the more you experience your advisor the better it gets.

      I really ask my clients to share their experience with me which contains their results and difference they created in their financial life.It is their victory that we are celebrating and sharing with the world.

      I got my first client with no testimonial with me, infact i did not knew how to create a financial plan. I searched on net spoke to many experts but they did not reveal what they do with their clients.

      This is what i tell people who approach me . I never charge for me, my credentials, my experience, my knowledge, my reputation. I charge for the work. I charge for the breakthrough we are going to create together.

      Be blessed Srinivas

      1. Hari says:

        I think, Richness is a state of being not explained properly. It gives meaning that a planner / adviser is suppose to own Gaadi , Bangla etc.,

  13. Radhey says:

    The definition of (monetary) RICH needs more explanation. What is RICH in this article ? Rich in thoughts and actions is mandatory but I am not sure how to infer monetary richness as a parameter for a good financial planner. I ain’t rich so I want to be rich so that I can call myself a good planner …LOL.

    In a country where every person dealing with money calls himself a planner, the certification is a must-ask from clients otherwise they are sure to be duped. The certification does not prove that the planner is the right person to do the job, it proves he comes with the right learning.
    Also, it is not that people with no certifications cannot do the job.

    The importance of WORK over CERTIFICATION is valid in mature sectors and after the planner has put behind him some successful years to display that work. In a nascent profession like ours, the work is such that the certification can easily and practically give more weightage.

    Also, how will the cleint know how many financial lives the planner changed ? Testimonials do work but practically, very few clients talk to each other to say their planner changed their lives.

    On your last point, till date, I have had only 1 client asking whether I had my own plan. He did sign up 🙂

    I personally think that though these are terrific points a planner should possess and client should look for, clients just do not have the right way to know about any of these for sure BEFORE THEY SIGN UP. And on those in which the client will learn, he can only do so after he has already signed up with the planner and then learn the hard way.

    Thoughts Manish ?

    1. Yea Radhey …

      I know clients can not find out all these points .. It all the points which should ideally be there ! .. not compulsorily be there ..


  14. rajivahuja says:

    Good points. I did not seek these. Thanks a lot for the elucidation.Simple yet effective.

    1. Rajiv

      Then you should watch out those things in your advisor ..


  15. Ashish says:

    Lovely Article Nandish.

    This sums up a lot of the qualities. Most important one I believe is truth telling. This also includes setting expectations straight.

    Many people have incorrect notions about debt (always safe), equity (always risky, bumper dumper returns overnight etc) – Once they have their expectations in line it makes life easier for both the parties.

    Thanks for a great one.


    1. Ashish

      Yea .. very correct .. Its interesting that you raise this point of Equity being risky and debt being safe perception which common public has .. i have tried to cover these two topics in my upcoming book 🙂


      1. Ashish says:

        That’s great Manish.
        I m sure that the book would be a very fine work of yours.
        Wish you all the best.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

FREE Financial Health Checkup

Take up a detailed 25 questions financial health checkup to find out how much you score out of 100?