How to Choose a Financial Advisor

Using a financial advisor to help you plan your investments, banking, insurance policies and retirement plans is a great way to get professional advice and peace of mind. However, putting your money and financial future into the hands of a financial advisor requires trust and confidence. You want to make sure you find the best fit for you, your money and your lifestyle. Interview several advisors and decide on the one who makes you feel comfortable and can deliver the best results.

Determine what kind of advising you need. You might need someone to completely manage your financial portfolio, or just your retirement funds. Before you look for a financial planner, decide what kind of services you need.

Make sure the financial advisor you choose is properly licensed. Whether you are using a major financial services firm or a small organization, make sure the professional you work with has all of the required state and federal licenses. If you are getting investment advice from your financial advisor, you will want to make sure he or she holds that license as well.

Talk to potential advisors to get a feel for their competence and ability to relate to your philosophy on money and investing. If you are conservative when it comes to spending and investing money, you may not want to work with someone who prefers to take risks.

Make sure your financial advisor has uncompromising ethical standards. There should be reasonable disclosures about any potential conflicts of interest. Talk about fees, relationships with other financial service professionals and organizational memberships that require ethical commitments.

Ask how the financial advisor stays current in his or her profession. Laws regarding taxes, investments and banking are always changing. Find out what kind of continuing education your finance professional engages in, and see what you can learn about his or her expertise in specific areas.

Talk about costs and fees. Some financial advisors get paid commissions on products they sell you. Find out how your financial advisor is compensated, because it may affect how much the service costs you.

Keep everything in perspective. Providing you excellent service and good advice is more essential than anything else.


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