Four Tips to Help You Find a Financial Planner
If you have made the decision to hire a professional to help with your financial planning needs, congratulations! You have just taken the first step toward creating and implementing a plan geared toward your goals and needs. There are a lot of people who call themselves “financial planners,” so how do you know who to turn to for your personal financial planning needs?
Here are four tips to help you make a decision about who to work with, and to feel confident about that decision:
Get recommendations from friends, family members, co-workers, and other trusted sources. Don’t limit yourself to these recommendations, but it can be a helpful starting place.
Interview more than one financial planner, and don’t be afraid to ask them tough questions about fees, process, investment strategy, etc. Just because one planner offers lower fees does not make their services a better value than others; make sure you understand the scope of services each candidate provides to their clients. Ask to review a copy of a standard client agreement, and ask the planner to clarify anything you don’t understand.
Find someone with whom you are comfortable; if your personalities don’t “gel”, then even the smartest, most-experienced planner in the world is probably not the best planner for you. A good planner should gear the process to you, and should focus on your objectives and goals, rather than recommending hot stocks right off the bat.
Check out the backgrounds of your short-listed candidates. If your planner is an investment adviser representative, read the company’s Form ADV disclosure brochure and read your planner’s Form ADV Part 2B brochure. Additional information about reviewing proposed brokers and advisers is available through the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website.
Your financial planner will play an important role in helping both identify the path to help you reach your goals, and in making sure you are positioned to stay on that path. Being choosy about who you work with just makes sense.