Most of us understand the basics of financial planning, like setting up budgets and saving, but when it comes to more complex topics like retirement planning, establishing trusts for your estate and investing, you’ll want some professional guidance.
This is where an experienced financial advisor can help. Financial advisors are experts in various aspects of finance and can help you understand your bigger financial picture so you feel prepared for investments, retirement and more.
Unfortunately, there are tons of financial advisors in the Los Angeles area. To find the right one for you, make sure you’re looking for these five important things.
1. Credentials: To begin, you’ll want to find a financial advisor who is well credentialed. Look for a Certified Financial Planner (CFP) credential, which demonstrates that the financial advisor completed multiple years of graduate-level financial training and passed a rigorous exam. The company you work with may also employ advisors with other credentials, such as Certified Public Accountants (CPAs), who have expertise in taxation, and Chartered Financial Analysts (CFAs), who are knowledgeable about economics, financial theory and other, more specialized areas.
2. Online reviews: Once you find a financial advisor you’re interested in, search their name online and read reviews from previous visitors. Reviews are a great way to know what other clients think of the company, to verify that they are reliable and experienced and to ensure the company has a successful history of serving happy customers.
3. Independent vs. captive agent: You’ll also want to find out whether your financial advisor is a captive or independent agent. A captive agent is someone who works with a single insurance company and is paid by the company to sell clients products that apply to them. Independent agents, on the other hand, do not work for a sole company and can earn money through commissions by selling policies from a variety of companies. Independent agents are often better able to find the best possible policy to meet your needs. Companies like Fidelity or Vanguard often only sell their own products, which prevents you from always having access to the best investments. When working with an independent firm, you will always get the best-in-class products because the firm works for you—not for a big corporation with shareholders.
4. Breadth of the practice: Take a look at what the financial advisor offers at their practice. Do they only focus on investing or taxes? Or, do they offer a wide variety of services, such as estate planning, retirement planning and more? It’s a good idea to work with a well-rounded financial advisory firm that can help meet all your needs under one roof. This allows you to gain a comprehensive understanding of your financial situation and realize how each piece works together in the whole.
5. Communication style and personality: While financial advisory skills are certainly important, personality and communication are also crucial. You’ll need to communicate with your financial planner regularly throughout the year, so it’s important that the two of you get along and are able to communicate effectively. Visit your financial advisor for an initial consult to get a feel for their personality. Make sure to ask them how they typically communicate with clients so you know how you can get ahold of them and what kind of communication you can expect.
The right financial advisor works with you
Choosing the right financial advisor in Los Angeles can be a challenge, but the work will be well worth it in the end. When you find the perfect fit, your financial advisor can help you navigate confusing financial circumstances, plan for your future and ensure you make the most of your wealth.
At Affluencer Financial, we work to educate our clients so they understand their finances as well as possible. As a fiduciary, we work in your best interest, so you can rest assured that our financial experts have your goals in mind. We can help save you time, money and frustration through our personalized financial solutions.