Searching for a Financial Planner
The selection of a financial planner can be one of the most important decisions you will ever make. You will want to find somebody with whom you can build a solid relationship. Ultimately, you will need to trust that the recommendations that you get are in your best interest. Unfortunately, there is no magic formula to finding somebody trustworthy. There are, however, some common-sense ideas that you can use to help you in your search. First, we suggest that you interview multiple advisors. Don’t just go to the first one you meet just because you like them.
Before you even meet with the potential advisors, you should check out their educational background, licenses, and certifications. As a quick way to get started with this, visit the FINRA website (brokercheck.finra.org) and enter their name. It will let you know about their licenses, as well as any disciplinary history.
Did you know that there is almost no restriction on who can call themselves a “financial planner?” I suggest that you look for a Certified Financial Planner® Professional. This can help you to narrow down your search. The CFP® Board has Educational, Experience, and Ethical Standards which require CFP practitioners to act as fiduciaries and put your interests ahead of their own. You can search for a CFP® Professional at www.letsmakeaplan.org.
Once you are ready to interview the planner, you should ask questions to help you understand how they are compensated (fees, commissions, or both). You will also want to know if they are required to act as a fiduciary and place your interests first. If not, why? What are their fees? How often will you meet? Are there areas that they specialize in?
Some planners are part of a team, some are independent, some work for big companies, and some are self-employed. Each has its benefits, and each has its drawbacks. You should find out who will be working with you. Will it be the planner him/herself, or someone else?
Much of the final decision will come down to your personal preferences and needs. Do your homework! It can make all the difference.
If you are ready to interview us, you can call us or request an initial consultation.