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How do you sort through the myriad of financial planners out there to find the one who will be the ideal fit for you and your family?

At first glance, it can sound like a daunting task. However, working through a few key details can help you and your family forge a strategy for your ideal planner. "After all, you're not hiring someone to manage your money," says Catherine O'Malley Kearney, Director of Trust and Chief Fiduciary Officer at Key Private Bank. "You want a partner who's just as invested in your financial present and future as you are."

Let's take a look at some savvy but simple strategies that will help you decide which financial pros will make the short list.

Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses

"The truth is we're all better with some things than others when it comes to money," says O'Malley Kearney. "Partnering with a financial planner means you don't have to be good at everything. Rather, you and your partner can take inventory of your strengths and weaknesses and use those to help guide you through the sea of financial planners."

Ideally, you want a financial planner who can see your blind spots and bring strength to the areas where you aren't as strong. Partners and spouses can be frank with one another about where you each excel. This will help you choose an advisor who complements your skill set and brings added strength to your finances.

Consider Your Involvement

According to Accenture, boomers stand to transfer over $30 million in savings to future generations over the next 30 to 40 years. There's no shame in admitting how involved you want to be in your finances today and tomorrow.

When considering financial planners, think about the level of involvement you'll need with your finances to feel comfortable. Before you interview potential advisors, determine if there are assets or accounts that you or your spouse would like to oversee. This will help you find an advisor who's on board with your preferences.

Add in Personality and Communication

We all have preferences and quirks which will show up in a relationship with prospective financial planners. There's no real way to set them aside, and nor should you.

"As you evaluate financial planners, you should never feel as if you're settling," says O'Malley Kearney. "It's important to feel that you're entering into a partnership where everyone benefits."

If a trusted friend has referred you to their financial planner, you might find that while they've achieved extraordinary results for your friends, their personality might be too abrasive for you. On the other hand, you might want a planner with a jovial personality to keep pressing matters light while protecting your family and assets. Don't minimize the importance of personality and business style when making evaluations.

Don't Forget to Start Critical Conversations

Financial planning should always begin long before a family ever meets a financial professional. By starting important conversations with your loved ones, you'll be in a better position to help an advisor help you reach all of your wealth management and transfer goals.

Important conversations can include topics such as inheriting a family business, establishing trusts, or even charitable bequests you'd like to make a part of your legacy. The important part is starting those conversations so that your future advisor can build strategies that support your family's needs and expectations while ensuring the preservation and subsequent transfer of your savings according to your wishes.

With these simple strategies, you and your loved ones can take charge of your financial future. Schedule a meeting with KeyBank Investment Services and be sure to bring the answers to the questions above. You'll find a team of professionals invested in your future and curious about your ideas for an ideal financial advisory relationship.


Key Private Bank is part of KeyBank National Association.

Banking products and trust services provided by KeyBank National Association.

Investment products offered through Key Investment Services LLC (KIS), member FINRA/SIPC and SEC-registered investment advisor.

Investment products made available through KIS are:


Since laws are always subject to interpretation and possible changes, KeyBank strongly recommends that you seek the counsel of an attorney and other qualified tax advisor as to the specific legal and tax consequences of all planning concepts as they apply to the facts of your particular situation.

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