Not sure how to choose a financial advisor? It’s a big decision! Our guide on how to find a good CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner can help you ask the right questions and select someone able to help you reach your personal financial goals and find financial freedom.
Do You Need a Financial Advisor?
Depending upon where you are in your life, you may not have spent much time thinking about your financial future. NOW is always the best time to start! Finding a financial planner can help you focus on personal financial goals, like buying a new home, saving for a child’s college education, or retiring at a certain age. And if you have recently received a significant pay raise, come into an inheritance or trust, or need help with tax planning, a financial advisor can help you leverage and maximize those assets.
Do You Need a New Financial Advisor?
Have you started to wonder if your current financial advisor is right for you?
Most financial advisors receive a significant portion of their pay in commissions. When they recommend that you purchase shares of stock or mutual funds from a broker, they receive a portion of the proceeds of that sale in return. They can also make money through mark-ups of bonds, CDs, or new stock issues through a broker. And because advisors paid in by commission make the most money when you purchase financial products, they may be tempted to recommend buying things you do not really need. And their interest in your financial wellbeing may not extend beyond that sale. Many financial advisors do not assist with 529 savings plans, employer benefits packages, healthcare options, or estate planning, all critical components of a good financial plan.
If you have started to wonder if your current financial advisor is truly looking out for your best interests, it is time to look for a fee-only financial advisor.
What is Fee-Only Financial Advising?
Fee-only is a better way to get smart financial advice you can trust. Fee-only financial advisors never make money from commissions or mark-ups. We are only paid by you to give advice that we believe will work best for you. You will never need to second-guess our motives, suggestions, or strategies. You will always know that your financial future is our highest priority.
Fee-only financial advisors must meet a very strict professional fiduciary standard. Fee-only financial advisors must become Registered Investment Advisors and meet the highest fiduciary standard, while other financial advisors are held to a lower suitability standard.
To be sure you are working with the best and that your financial advisor has only your best interests at heart, choose a fee-only Certified Financial Planner™ Practitioner (CFP®).
Research a Financial Advisor
Word of mouth can be a great way to find a financial advisor. Asking your friends, relatives, and coworkers if they have a financial advisor they trust and would recommend can be a great place to start. Online research can also help you find and look into your options.
Whenever you are given or find a name, take a moment to look them up on the broker check tools maintained by the Security and Exchange Commission or FINRA. And don’t stop with the broker name! Make sure you also plug in their firm’s name. If the firm has multiple infractions that may be an indication of poor corporate culture.
What to Know Before Meeting with a Financial Advisor
Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor
Selecting a Financial Advisor
Finding a financial planner lets you start the exciting and rewarding process of creating a financial plan calibrated just for you and your personal financial goals. Abstract ideas become an action plan. You have specific instructions and ways to mark your progress. You know how to ask for help and when to ask for changes or adjustments. And you can finally see the big picture—not only where you are today, but where you want to go.