to choose a Financial Planner
Want your finances to rise to new heights? Building up your financial
security is the job of a trained planner. Here's some tips on how to choose a
financial planner just for you.
Many advisers will have an introductory meeting with you at no cost, giving
you a chance to evaluate how comfortable you are with discussing the details
about your financial situation with the prospective adviser. This is your
opportunity to ask questions to assess which adviser is best suited to meet
your unique and personal needs.
Questions to Ask
Do you have a working relationship with other professionals, and will you
It's important that your adviser be ready to work with other experts if your
needs fall outside the adviser's area of expertise. This is your chance to
find out if your adviser is a team player and to assess the adviser's
reputation among other professionals.
How long have you been practicing financial planning, and what did you do
before becoming a financial adviser?
Financial advisers, like any other group of people, come from a variety of
backgrounds and have different levels of experience. The right answers to
these questions are simply answers you're comfortable with. Everyone has to
start somewhere, and if you're just beginning your career, a new financial
planner might be a great fit for you.
What are your areas of expertise, and how do they relate to my needs and
Evaluate each adviser you meet based on his or her ability to help you
fulfill your unique goals and dreams. Remember that financial advisers offer
a variety of services, and some professionals specialize in niche areas.
Have you worked with others whose situation is similar to mine, and will
you provide references to some of those clients?
Most financial advisers will provide references to clients. If you actually
contact those clients, you'll gain some insights into what life with this
adviser will be like. Make the phone calls!
How will we work together, and what do you expect from me?
It's important that you're comfortable with the relationship. Some advisers
may work with you one-on-one, face-to-face. Others may have other team
members who'll work on your account. Again, there's no right or wrong answer.
Just make sure you're comfortable with the arrangement.
How often will I receive reports on my progress?
You should receive a written report on your progress at least once a year.
Some advisers may also request an annual meeting to discuss your plan and
recommend changes. Others may prefer to meet more frequently.
How will I pay for your advice?
To make sure the adviser's compensation method is suited to your needs and
goals, you should take time to understand and be comfortable with the charges
and fees collected by your adviser. Generally, financial advisers are
compensated in one of four ways: solely by fees, a combination of fees and
commissions, solely by commissions, or through a salary and bonus paid by the
adviser's company (which may be compensated in one of the first three
methods). In some cases, advisers may offer more than one payment option.
Do you have a degree in financial planning or a related field and/or hold
one or more designations?
Most advisers should have some background in finance, accounting or business,
and many hold professional designations, indicating they've pursued some
level of education beyond their degree.
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