Navigating the finance world is hard, and that’s why there are careers for people to help you make the best choices for your bank accounts and investments. A financial advisor can make a huge difference in your finances, helping you save lots more money for retirement, and even make a few extra bucks for your current budget.
How do you find one of these helpful advisors for yourself? Use the following step-by-step guide to help you find the best financial advisor for you and your money.
- Find a Fiduciary – An advisor that will put your interests first is a fiduciary. A fiduciary is an advisor that is required by law to put your interests first, and to give you the best advice. Some advisors are not under this fiduciary standard, and may be more likely to recommend finance choices to you that are best for them. There are a lot of fiduciary advisors out there; you just have to know where to look. You can begin your search for a fiduciary financial advisor on NAPFA website, which has a database of reliable personal financial advisors.
- Choose Fee-Only – There are two main kinds of financial advisors: fee-only and fee-based compensation. Fee-only advisors charge you a flat rate for their services, and therefore have minimal conflicts of interest, while fee-based advisors oftentimes work mostly on commission, so they will be more likely to advise what’s best for their bottom line as opposed to what’s best for you. You can find a comprehensive list of fee-only financial advisors on FeeOnlyNetwork.com.
- Interview – Once you’ve compiled a small list of potential candidates, meet with and interview each one. In the interview, ask about his qualifications, credentials, licenses and experience. This is the most important step, as you will be working closely with your advisor for years to come, so it’s crucial that you’re comfortable with and understand each other. When interviewing, ask questions such as:
- Questions About the Firm:
- How long have you been managing wealth? You want an adviser with at lease 10 years.
- Are you affiliated with a broker or dealer? If yes, end the interview there.
- What are your credentials? Look for designations like Certified Financial Planners, Certified Investment Management Analysis and Certified Public Accountant.
- Questions About Their Investment Strategies:
- What is your investment philosophy? Focus on active vs. passive mutual funds and real estate.
- How will we communicate? Look for advisors that offer quarterly reviews.
- Where will my assets be held? The right answer is a low-cost, reputable firm in the independent space.
- Questions About Their Service Record:
- Do you have any complaints on your record? Check the answer on websites like FINRA.org.
- Can I have three references from current or past clients? This is standard practice, and if the candidate resists, end the interview.
Use this step-by-step guide to finding the best financial advisor for you and your wallet.
Did you find a great advisor? Share your success below! Are you having trouble finding one? Ask questions in the comments, or check out some of our other articles for more helpful tips and guides.