How to evaluate your financial advisor

Just looking at your return compared to an index does not tell you the real value of your advisors benefit to your financial health….

Look at the big picture: Many advisers provide a range of services—from helping clients find a mortgage to helping them create a lifelong financial plan—that go beyond investing.                                        

As such, it may not make sense to judge advisers solely on whether they can beat an index. Rather, “it is a piece of the evaluation,” says Jason Lina of Resource Planning Group, an Atlanta advisory firm. And that isn’t factoring in the intangibles: Is the adviser quick to respond to a question? Can the adviser refer you to a good accountant or estate attorney? Such things aren’t easily “benchmarked” and yet they may be what matters most in the long run, pros say.                                                            

More stories by Charles Passy: