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Finding Your Financial Sherpa: Five Ways to Tell if they are Seasoned Enough to Guide You

A Sherpa is a member of the Tibetan people living on the high southern slopes of the Himalayas in eastern Nepal and are known for providing support for foreign trekkers and mountain climbers, according to Merriam Webster. Recent news of one Sherpa, Kami Rita, made history this year with 23 treks up Everest! 

Everest is no ordinary mountain. It’s the tallest and one of the most dangerous in the world. Even experienced climbers need Sherpas to guide them and help navigate the difficult terrain.  

How could you benefit from having a guide through your financial journey? Think of your trusted advisor like your financial Sherpa. 

When it comes to your Sherpa, it’s important to find the right guide for you. They need to be competent, experienced, ethical and hold a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ designation (types of designations). But it goes beyond those criteria. It requires all the above and everything below.  

Focus on Your Expectations

First, you need to identify your preferred style, the right meeting approach, and your goals for the relationship. Be direct with your advisor and tell him/her what you are seeking.

  • Do you prefer a personal approach or want to keep it all business? 
  • How much time to do you want to spend on the educational side of the topics? How much of an educational understanding do you hope to gain of financial topics?
  • Do you want to know the pros/cons of each option or cut to the chase with a final solution? 
  • What are your timelines and how best do you make big decisions? 
  • Do charts and graphs help you understand, or do you prefer a high-level view?

If you aren’t sure because working with a professional is all new (this is common!), then ask the most common objectives and approaches and try them out. 

Bonus points if your advisor has already asked you to set expectations. They must be top-notch.  

Meet Exactly Where You Are

All of us have different past experiences and different upbringings that shape our money scripts and underlying values. The right advisor will take the time to understand you and your relationship with money. 

They will guide you through the process of creating a realistic spending and savings plan. One that aligns with your values, habits, and goals, so that it’s implementable. 

The right advisor will empower you. S/he will enable and encourage you to take small steps to get you where you want to go. And keep you there. 

It’s All in the Processes

The advisor’s team should have a consistent, reliable method for everything they do for you. That way, you can rest easy knowing the important stuff is getting done.

  • MountainThey will anticipate changes and strategic moves that you don’t have time to think about. 
  • They’ll keep communication open and have regular check-ins to keep you on track. 


We’re all human. We’re wired to employ heuristics to make life easier on our brains. Seasoned advisors are self-aware, and they can recognize and identify these patterns in themselves and you. They’re able to bring these to the surface in a way that makes you feel validated and confident someone is in your corner. 

With a partner to combat these natural shortcuts, it’s easier to not get in your own way with mental errors. Avoiding being our own worst enemy can sometimes be the advisor’s biggest benefit to you.  

Life Learning Firm

Financial-Advisor-RelationshipYou want your advisor to have a client-centric firm that focuses on the day to day activities but also the long-term sustainability and succession of the firm. This will assure you that as your wealth grows, so do all the tools and team members to support you. 

Some questions to ask: 

  • How does the firm stay on top of current industry trends and strategies, public policy changes, new data evolving, and overall innovation?  
  • What happens when senior advisors retire? 
  • Are there multiple owners to share the decisions and ownership? This creates more reliability for you as the client to have ongoing support despite what may happen in one person’s life. 

The relationship with your advisor is an intimate one, so the last thing you want to do is feel the need (or the necessity) to advisor jump. It may not be in your best interest, and it’s time-consuming and stressful. Find the right fit from the beginning! Call FJY Financial and see if one of our talented advisors could be your financial Sherpa!