Numerous studies by various financial institutions were conducted to determine the benefits of working with financial professionals over the years. The value of working with Financial Advisor varies by individual, but choosing the right Financial Advisor is a major life decision that can determine your financial trajectory for years to come.
Although it is not always easy to find the right Financial Advisor, there are some steps that if taken, can guide you through this process.
1. Get Prepared
Write down all your questions, concerns, goals and needs. Educate yourself about basic financial terms and do some research to become familiar with financial planning terms and strategies. If you do not understand what the advisor is talking about, ask for clarification. While a good Financial Advisor will explain things as you go along, understanding the basics will allow you to be more involved in the process.
2. Understand Your Financial Goals and Needs
Choose a Financial Advisor that can meet your goals and needs. Take your time to go over your financial goals and needs so you are able to articulate what you are looking for. Reflect on what is most important to you today and for the future.
3. Look for a Financial Advisor with a Specialty That Suits Your Needs
Financial Advisors have many specialties and you should be working with an advisor that is best suited to address your needs. They should be focused on all your needs not just your investments. For example, our practice specializes in working with clients 50+ with a focus on retirement income planning. Planning is critical to getting to where you want to be and keeping you there.
4. Look for a Financial Advisor with a Compatible Strategy
Each advisor has a unique strategy. Some advisors may suggest aggressive investments, while others are more conservative. Find a strategy that you feel most comfortable with. Focus on advisors that can build a customized solution to meet your specific needs.
5. Look for a Financial Advisor that is Independent
When it comes to independence, look to an advisor that is not tied to the large financial institution that promotes their own products. Focus on advisors that offer customized solutions from independent partners.
6. Ask About Credentials
An experienced Financial Advisors will come with multiple designations earned over many years. This is really important as that knowledge and expertise is what sets them apart, not marketing.
7. Learn About How the Financial Advisor is Paid
Do you pay them directly or are they paid commissions from their employer on a grid system based on their sales? What payment model do you prefer? Fee for service, flat rate, fee-based on the size of your assets or commissions. Make sure you understand the benefits of each option including possible tax savings with one method versus another.
8. Ask for a Second and Third Option
Don’t be afraid to seek a second or third opinion. No one has all the answers. Listen to what each has to say and then identify what makes them unique and best equipped to help you achieve your goals.