Choosing the right financial advisor can be as important a decision as choosing a family doctor. After all, you’re looking for someone you trust enough to provide them with detailed information about your financial situation, as well as your goals and dreams. It should be someone you can work with over time to develop and implement a strategy to achieve your objectives.
Whether you are a business owner or individual, are looking for help in a specific area, or need comprehensive, holistic planning, here are some tips for finding the financial advisor who is the best fit for you:
- Ask friends, family and colleagues for referrals.
- Check the Financial Planning Association’s website (plannersearch.org) for the names of CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM practitioners in your area.
- Before making an initial appointment, check the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s (FINRA) Broker Check site (brokercheck.FINRA.org) or the CFP® Board’s website (http://www.cfp.net) to make sure the advisor has never been disciplined for unlawful or unethical behavior.
- Schedule initial consultations (usually free) with several potential advisors, making sure that you not only describe what you are looking for but also ask questions, including the following:
- How is the advisor/team compensated?
- What are their professional credentials?
- How much experience does the advisor/team have? How long has the firm been in existence?
- What services can be provided?
- What is their planning process?
- What is their investment philosophy? Does the firm use proprietary products?
- Will you be working with an individual or does the firm employ a team approach?
- Does the advisor serve as a fiduciary (one who has pledged to act in the client’s best interest)? Does the advisor have professional designations to confirm that role?
- What makes the firm unique?
Getting answers to the above questions and having the opportunity to talk about your needs and goals is essential. You also want to be sure the advisor or team is willing to really listen to you, and that you feel comfortable with them. These considerations will all factor into your ultimate choice of the best financial advisory firm