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Most of a relationship with a financial adviser will rightly focus on your retirement.

But your adviser’s retirement plans matter, too. If you’re interviewing fiftysomething advisers to see if they’re a fit for your needs, ask how long they plan to continue working. If you currently have a veteran adviser, find out how much longer they plan to continue working and what their succession plan is on retirement.

Canada’s population is aging, and that includes advisers. According to an Investment Executive report in 2022, the average age of advisers was 50.6, up from 49.2 in 2014. A reader recently offered some perspective on what the aging advisory population means to clients. This reader said recent messaging from his adviser suggests he might be getting ready to retire. What’s the best approach to dealing with this situation, which is complicated by the fact that the adviser is doing good work and this reader has had some dud advisers in the past?

For answers, I consulted advisers and planners in my LinkedIn community. A common theme in the responses is that this reader needs to ask the adviser directly about his retirement and succession plans. If retirement is in the near future, the client should ask for an introduction to whoever will take over the account.

Feeling awkward about asking your adviser about his or her retirement? Frame your question by saying off the top how much you appreciate your adviser’s work. Your concern is maintaining that high standard into the future.

Asking about succession is a totally legitimate thing to do as an engaged client. In the adviser’s response to this question, look for a sense that some effort has been put into finding a good fit for your account and others. Advisers selling their book of business may sometimes look for the best payout above all.

Not liking what you hear when your adviser talks about succession? While changing advisers is a major undertaking, it may be the right call if you can’t see yourself working with your adviser’s chosen successor.

Have you downloaded my “Are you getting value from your adviser” checklist? It’s design to help clients see how good the service from their adviser is.

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