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The following is a list of questions you should pose to financial advisers the first time you meet with them. Below David Holland’s answers, you can add and compare the answers given by other financial planners. This is a printable form, so take it along with you to your “interviews.”     Download Printable PDF Version

The Meaningful Questions to Ask Financial Advisers

 

Personal Background

Question(s): Where were you born? Where did you grow up? 
Where have you lived?

David Holland’s Answer: I was born in Bunnell, Florida. I have lived in Volusia and Flagler Counties my entire life, except for the seven years that I attended college and worked for a CPA firm in Jacksonville, Florida.   

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Question(s): Do you have a resume? Can I have a copy? 

David Holland’s Answer: Yes and Yes.

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Question(s): What do you do when you are not working? What do you do on the weekends?

David Holland’s Answer: I’ve gotta stay in shape if I’m going to advise my clients for a long time. So, I work out with weights and put some serious mileage on my road bike. Evenings are spent with my wife and three children. Weekends include church and family activities.

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Question(s): Is there anything that you are passionate about?

David Holland’s Answer: I am passionate about helping people plan for the future.

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Question(s): Are you involved with any charities?  Which ones and why?

David Holland’s Answer: Yes, I support Halifax Urban Ministries in Daytona Beach. They feed and clothe the homeless and place emphasis on prevention.   

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Question(s): Describe your typical week. 

David Holland’s Answer: I host a weekday radio show called Real Money with David Holland. You can listen to an archived show here at planstronger.com.   

I meet with clients, and prospective clients, Monday through Thursday. I write my financial columns and record my radio interviews on Fridays.

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Question(s): Have you ever been convicted of a crime or been fined for a financial wrongdoing? 

David Holland’s Answer: No.   

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Question(s): Have you ever filed for bankruptcy?

David Holland’s Answer: No.   

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Question(s): What do you think about paying taxes?

David Holland’s Answer: No cheating!  Everyone should pay their share. 

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Question(s): What do you think about the direction our country is headed?

David Holland’s Answer: I think improvements can be made. I favor a conservative approach and fiscal discipline.  

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Financial Background

Question(s): When did you decide you wanted to be an adviser? 

David Holland’s Answer: While I was working as a CPA in Jacksonville, I was recruited by an insurance agency in Daytona Beach. I started as their Director of Internal Audit and then was given the opportunity to work in their employee benefits division. In 1995, I realized I wanted to provide personal financial advice.

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Question(s): Did you go to college? Where? What was your major?

David Holland’s Answer: Yes, I have a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from the University of North Florida. I majored in Accounting. I also hold a Masters of Science in Financial Services from the Institute for Business and Finance.

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Question(s): How important is ongoing education to you?

David Holland’s Answer: Very important. Not just for me, but for my staff as well.

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Question(s): How long have you been in the financial business? 

David Holland’s Answer: I’ve been in the financial field since 1991.

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Question(s): How long have you been licensed?

David Holland’s Answer: CPA since 1991, insurance since 1992, securities since 1995, and CFP® practitioner since 1998.

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The Business

Question(s): Are you self-employed?  How long?  Do you have any partners? 

David Holland’s Answer: Yes. My business is called Holland Financial, and it was established in 1997.  I have no partners.

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Question(s): Are you an employee of any company?  Do you receive a 1099 or a W-2 for tax purposes?

David Holland’s Answer: I am a w-2 employee of the companies I own. 

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Question(s): How long have you been with your present company?  Where have you worked before?

David Holland’s Answer: Since 1997. Previously, I worked for two other companies: Ernst & Young, CPAs for 1 1/2 years and Brown & Brown for 4 1/2 years.

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Question(s): Has your present firm ever been fined?

David Holland’s Answer: My firm has never been fined.

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Question(s): Do you own any other financial businesses?  Do you own any non-financial businesses?

David Holland’s Answer: I am the sole owner of Holland Financial, which has three primary subsidiaries: Holland Insurance Services (an insurance agency), Holland Advisory Services (an investment advisory firm) and Holland Tax & Accounting Services.  I am also the sole owner of Holland Productions, which handles the advertising and syndication of my radio show, as well as the publication and distribution of the Confessions of a Financial Planner book series.

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Autonomy

Question(s): Does anyone tell you what to recommend or sell?

David Holland’s Answer: No.

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Question(s): Does anyone have to approve what you recommend?  Do you have a supervisor?

David Holland’s Answer: No and no.

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Question(s): What are some of your favorite investment and insurance companies?

David Holland’s Answer: There are many good companies from which to choose. I don’t have “favorites.” I work for my clients, not for insurance or investment companies. My recommendations depend on the quality of the products and the strength of the companies.

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Stability and Reliability

Question(s): Do you own or lease your office space? 

David Holland’s Answer: Our office is located in Ormond Beach, Florida. We have plenty of space and a ten-year lease (with two additional ten-year options). We’ll never need to move!

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Question(s): How far do you live from your office?

David Holland’s Answer: I live 2 ½ miles from my office. It is a ten minute drive.

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Question(s): Do you have Errors & Omissions liability insurance? Can I see it?

David Holland’s Answer: Yes and yes.

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Question(s): What is your Smacked-by-a-Mack business succession plan? In other words, what would happen to your clients if you were to die? 

David Holland’s Answer: Plans are in place to ensure that our clients would continue to get the same high quality service and advice that they currently receive from my 20-member financial team.

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Question(s): How long do you plan to work?  Do you plan to sell your business?  If so, when?

David Holland’s Answer: I was born in 1968 (you can do the math) and I plan to help my clients for at least two decades.  I have absolutely no plans to sell my business.

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Clients

Question(s): What is the total amount of assets you manage for all of your clients?

David Holland’s Answer: Fortunately, this number continues to increase. As of _______________ Holland Financial manages a total of $______________ for its advisory and insurance clients (through its separate affiliated entities, Holland Advisory Services, Inc. and Holland Insurance Services, Inc.).

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Question(s): On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being your largest and 1 being your smallest, where would my assets rank? 

David Holland’s Answer: I would have to meet with you to determine the answer to that question.

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Question(s): What products and services do your typical clients receive?

David Holland’s Answer: Although two plans have never been the same, Holland Financial routinely provides retirement income planning, estate planning, fee-based money management (stocks, bonds, no-load mutual funds, and ETFs), long-term care insurance products, and fixed annuities.  

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Question(s): Where do your clients come from?

David Holland’s Answer: New clients come from a variety of sources: existing clients’ referrals (a heartfelt “thank you” to them for their trust and support); referrals from other professionals (like CPAs and attorneys); my radio show, financial column and app; book promotion; public speaking; company website; and newspaper advertising.

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Ongoing Service

Question(s): How do you provide ongoing service?  Do you have a staff?  Who does what?

David Holland’s Answer: Holland Financial has a total of 20 full-time employees (including three CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioners, two Certified Public Accountants, one attorney, and one Certified Management Accountant). My support staff has dedicated functions including client services, financial planning, tax preparation services, and investment management.

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Question(s): How often do you meet with clients

David Holland’s Answer: I have a tremendous support team who assists me with administrative functions and paperwork. I meet with clients and prospective clients four days a week. I spend most of my time focused on financial planning and retirement income planning.

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Question(s): Will you talk to my accountant and/or attorney?

David Holland’s Answer: If there is a situation for which a consultation is necessary, I am more than happy to speak with other professionals (and at no charge).

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Question(s): Can I have your cell phone number so I can call you whenever I want?

David Holland’s Answer: No. I have a life outside of work just like my clients. My firm maintains regular office hours from 8:30am to 5pm, Monday through Friday.  Anyone calling our office will speak to a live person, not voice mail.  We promptly return messages left after regular hours.

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