How We Work With Clients
What can you expect when you contact us about investing?
If there’s one thing we’ve learned through the years, it’s that clear communication is the bedrock of our work with clients. Your first conversation with an NI financial advisor might feel a bit like a first date. You’re going to “check us out”, and that’s fine! We’re passionate about the work we do and are happy to answer any and all questions.
As the initial step in designing your NI portfolio, we will ask you to fill out our Questionnaire.
This will help you to clarify your personal financial goals, tolerance for risk, and social-impact priorities. After that, further conversations with your NI advisor will inform our specific recommendations for you.
As we get to know you, we’ll ask questions. Lots of questions. Then we’ll listen. We’ll learn about you: your financial situation and goals, tolerance for risk, and the social and environmental issues that are most important to you. Maybe you’re interested in investments that help lead the way to our renewable energy future. Or you could be passionate about global social justice and economic opportunity. Once we’ve gotten to know you, we’ll help you shape a new approach to long-term management of your entire portfolio.
We combine progressive passion with fiscal prudence, preferring a patient approach to achieve long-term performance rather than reacting to short-term market fluctuations. At the same time, we’re always on the lookout for new opportunities that can give voice to the deeper visions of our clients, including finding more local options and fostering personal resiliency in the face of future economic uncertainties.
Nuts and Bolts of Investing
The first steps we take are all about communication: initial “getting to know each other” conversations, review of your NI Client Questionnaire (which give both you and your advisor additional clarity about your priorities), and deeper follow-up discussions about you and your needs.
Don’t be surprised if we ask some probing questions about you.
It’s really important that we learn as much as we can about your goals, hopes and fears, work and family situation, traumatic experiences with money when you were a little kid…you might tell us things that even your best friends don’t know about you! All this is important information that we use to design an investment strategy that is right for you.
After that, your advisor will draft an “Investment Policy Statement.”
This document becomes the roadmap that we use to create an initial investment portfolio. It spells out the goals for your investment plan, including your comfort level with the inherent risks carried by different investment types, how long you anticipate investing, any current or anticipated income needs, tax sensitivity, and of course, the specific social and environmental concerns you wish reflected in your account. After this, your advisor will begin suggesting specific investments, and your money will begin to speak for you in the world.
Meanwhile, your advisor will be getting the paperwork going to set up your brokerage account, review your IRA and other retirement options with you, and monitor the process of transferring any existing investments you have in other places.
When your account is open and funded, and when both you and your advisor have signed the Investment Policy Statement, it’s time to invest.