How to choose a financial planner.
Finding qualified, independent financial advice should not be difficult. But it is for many hard-working Americans. With so many people claiming to be financial planners, financial advisors, financial counselors, wealth managers, how do you know when you’ve found someone who can really help you?
To benefit from working with a financial advisor all you need is a willingness to share information like your short and long-term goals.
Simply talking with an advisor may help you identify a broad range of financial and personal priorities. In turbulent times, or times of prosperity, you’ll benefit from comprehensive financial planning intended to help you maximize the assets you have. It may be that you’d like to establish a budget that will help you put away money for future needs like retirement or paying for a child’s education. Men and women, married couples and single individuals, some younger, others older now recognize the benefits of taking a comprehensive approach to financial planning.
What Is Comprehensive Financial Planning?
The old adage “for every action, there is a reaction” is particularly true when mapping a course of action to reach your financial goals. If you focus on only one or two elements, other areas you overlooked could undo all of your efforts. Comprehensive planning recognizes the need to consider all areas of your financial situation before developing a plan to reach your personal financial goals.
What Should You Expect From A Comprehensive Financial Advisor?
After taking a close look at your existing circumstances a trained professional will help you identify your goals - sometimes referred as your objectives. The advisor will create a plan that considers all the financial aspects of your unique situation. Additionally you’ll also be provided with as much assistance as you need in the implementation of the recommendations.
Your financial situation is always changing in reaction to outside influences. It’s also important for an advisor to periodically review and revise your plan to adjust to changes in the financial world as well as your personal goals.
What Should You Look For When Choosing A Financial Planner?
When you select a financial advisor, there are a number of factors you must take into account – expertise, experience, integrity and even personal compatibility. If you are looking for objective advice you can’t ignore the question of how the Fee-Only all of the advisor is compensated. Here are some questions to ask as you interview financial advisors.
If you're interested in reading our responses to these questions, you may find them here.
Why Select A Fee-Only Comprehensive Financial Advisor?
The greater the advisor’s dependence on commission income, the greater the conflict. In the end, that conflict can cost you, both in out-of-pocket expenses and in the quality of advice you receive. We believe there is a significant conflict of interest if an advisor stands to gain financially from any recommendations you may follow.
What Can’t An Advisor Do?
- Predict the future.
- Guess what you are thinking.
- Guarantee the performance of investments.
- Protect you from destructive financial habits that you do not address yourself.
- Go beyond the role of advisor into the role of a therapist.
- Magically get you as much money as you would like to have.
- Earn higher than average returns year after year.
What Are Your Responsibilities As A Client?
- Provide the background information necessary for an advisor to make informed judgments and recommendations.
- Be ready to consider new information.
- Ask for clarification when you don’t understand something.
- Be forthcoming about your personal values, including goals, concerns and preferences.