After realizing the importance of having someone planning for your future, you have decided that you would want to find a financial planner. The problem is finding the professional who is best suited to your finances’ needs. You should look for someone who you can work with comfortably in putting your money to the best places.
It may take you some work to find the right financial planner, but it will be worth the effort. After all, he or she will be handling your hard earned money. So how do you start the search? Compile first a list of potential candidates. Ask your family, friends and co-workers to recommend someone to you. They may have worked with advisors in the past.
Or, you can go directly to the websites of the Financial Planning Association and the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors. The advisors that you will find at the latter’s site are what you call the fee only; they will not get any commission when you buy a specific financial product. Rather, they will charge you a rate which depends usually on the amount of assets that you place under their management. Most financial experts prefer the fee only advisors, as the conflicts of interests are eliminated in this set up, and your best interests will always be on their acts.
Look for planners with credentials, experience and expertise, to help you achieve your goals. For general financial planning, maybe all that you need is a certified financial planner, but for some complex financial issues, you may want to hire someone with additional knowledge and skills. If you’ve just been divorced and your joint finances need to be untangled, you may look for someone with a designation of certified divorce financial analyst. Or if you are facing complex issues on your taxes, you may find an accredited tax advisor.
Once your list is down to 3 or 4 potential financial planners, check out their credentials. You can use the investment advisor database of the Securities and Exchange Commission. If you want to know if they are “clean” or no complaint has been filed against any of them, use the Broker Check service of the FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) website. Interview all the 3 or 4 applicants and see if you feel comfortable speaking with them. Ask them questions about their qualification, education, employment history, and other topics. Remember to ask for references from their previous clients.
Financial planners have different designations, and they also have different fee structures. You must understand these upfront because they could affect your budget and the results of your investment. Some of them may charge you on per hour basis, or per plan. Others may charge you annually, or take commissions from financial products such as insurance policies or investments. Make sure that you discuss the fees during the interview.
A good financial planner will save you from stress; and he or she will save you time also. Through their guidance you can achieve your financial goals with the least hassle and in a quicker way. You will be able to get the most from – and for – your money through their approach and expertise.
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