The role of a financial advisor is to help you and your family figure out how to best save earnings, retain value, grow holdings, and meet long-term financial goals. Planners should provide short- and long-term expectations with the same portfolio, which can be quite an undertaking.
The value of working with a financial advisor is they provide the client an objective opinion of where best to put assets that will have the greatest likelihood of achieving desired goals.
Why work with a financial planner?
Many people confuse a financial advisor with a stockbroker, and then they find themselves playing the public market in ways that work against their goals. Further, planners are not public accountants; it is not their job to manage tax filings or track spending.
Because a planner acts as a professional adviser, they are often seen as filling in a gray area between the tax accountant and the brokerage trader. Some financial advisors are also bridging the gap between CPAs and traders by offering investment management, tax solutions, and full-service financial planning. That said, there are ways to make sure a planner is qualified to do the work needed for proper asset and wealth management. Here are six questions that you should ask when hiring a new financial planner.
Question #1: How Long Have You Been Practicing?
While most advisors are qualified, finding someone that you trust with your savings and the future of your financial path is incredibly important. Everyone needs to get a start somewhere, but finding someone with experience is key.
Question #2: What Are Your Credentials?
Choose a financial advisor who possesses the appropriate professional qualifications to meet your needs, such as the CFP® credential. To become a CFP®, the planner must pass testing that demonstrates they meet regulated educational requirements and professional standards.
Other credentials you may want to look out for include:
- Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)
- Personal Financial Specialist (PFS)
- Retirement Management Analyst® (FMA®)
- Retirement Income Certified Professional® (RICP®)
- Certified Retirement Counselor® (CRC®)
Question #3: What Is Your Niche?
Some financial advisors may choose to work with a niche clientele - pre-retirees, doctors, educators, women, etc. Alternatively, some advisors are more accommodating to helping everyone who meets some general criteria - regardless of age or profession.
Finding an advisor who works with others like you is a great way to make sure they will understand your specific needs and be familiar with the options available to you.
Question #4: Do You Have References?
Before you move forward with a financial advisor, you want to make sure they don’t have any existing negative marks. After all, this company will be handling your hard-earned money. We recommend starting with the SEC search tool to check your investment professional. If you are looking for a fee-only advisor, the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors (NAPFA) provides a good start to find advisors who carry high-level standards and ethical qualifications. Broker Check by FINRA is another helpful resource to review any complaints that may have been filed against the advisor you are considering working with.
It’s also a good idea to ask for a list of current client references you can speak to. While it’s helpful to know there isn’t any outstanding litigation against your advisor, it can help to learn more about what it’s like to actually work with them. Current clients should be able to explain their experiences working with the advisor in question.
Question #5: What Are Your Retirement Planning Projections?
How much money will you be able to spend each year from now through your life expectancy?
This is based on assumptions about:
- The rate of return of your assets
- The pace of inflation
- Your spending habits
You’ll want to work with a planner who is able to help you think in the long term and offer realistic expectations of what retirement may look like. They should be able to help you balance your ability to live comfortably today while preparing for a sound retirement.
Question #6: How Are You Compensated?
Transparency is important. Make sure your advisor explains their fees clearly so you have a solid understanding of what you’re expected to pay and the services you will receive. If you are going to be working with a fee-only financial planner, they will be incentivized to provide advice and service that is in line with your goals.
When it comes to planning for your future, a strong financial advisor is an important part of this process. Hiring a trustworthy financial planner is something to take seriously. Asking yourself these questions is an important step towards hiring the right person for you and your family.
Ready to learn more? Reach out to chat with one of the experts on our team.
This content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information, and provided by Twenty Over Ten. It may not be used for the purpose of avoiding any federal tax penalties. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information, and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security.