So you’ve finally made the decision that you’re going to work with a financial advisor. Your next decision is which advisor you will work with. Given the sheer number of choices available on the market, this can be a bit of an overwhelming decision to have to make. But if you know what you should be looking for, you can feel much more confident that you’ll be able to select a financial advisor who is right for you.
Let’s take a look at a few of the factors that you’ll want to give the most consideration in your search.
How much assistance you need
Exactly how comprehensive do you need your financial services to be? If you’re just looking for some advice for a specific financial situation, such as purchasing a new piece of property or selling a business, you can do just fine working with an advisor who provides hourly services.
However, if you’re looking for a long-term relationship that will involve some comprehensive financial planning and asset management, it’s important to take more time to research you potential financial advisors, as you’ll be looking for a person who will invest and manage your money and provide ongoing comprehensive financial planning throughout your life.
You should make sure any financial advisor you decide to work with has sufficient experience and credentials, proving their professionalism and quality. The certified financial planner (CFP) designation is a good one to look for, as it means the planner has passed a comprehensive board examination. If you’re looking for someone to manage your money, it can be a good idea to look for a registered investment advisor (RIA). If you’re a high-earner or own your own small business, working with a certified public accountant (CPA) is a solid option so you can benefit from advance tax planning. CPAs occasionally get personal financial specialist (PFS) certifications to provide more comprehensive financial planning services.
Approach to investing
If you know you want your financial planner to assist you with your investments, it’s good to know the kind of approach he or she tends to take with investments. This is especially true if you have a preference for a particular investing philosophy. How aggressive do you want to be? Do you want to make heavier use of more actively managed funds or more passive investments? These are the kinds of questions you should be prepared to ask your potential financial planner.
It’s helpful to have an understanding of the kind of experience you can expect to have as a client of your potential financial planner. Will you be working directly with that planner, or with their staff? What about the client experience with this financial is beneficial, and something you wouldn’t find at other firms? How communicative is your financial planner, and do they seem to care about your financial circumstances? These are all important questions to ask.
In some cases, it can be helpful to ask for samples of financial reports so you can get a better idea of the quality of work your advisor would be doing for you. Ask the advisor to give you a sample of a quarterly report (with all identifying information redacted), and have them go through that report with you line by line.
Your financial planner should be someone with whom you feel completely comfortable discussing your financial affairs, and someone you can trust to help you achieve your financial goals. Spend the time performing the necessary research so you can feel completely comfortable with your choice.