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One of my friends at work recently was in the market for a financial planner. He and his spouse spent a lot of time researching and selecting the right planner for them.
Tips on Finding a Great Financial Planner
If done right, the process is more than selecting a name out of the yellow pages. The following tips should help you select the right professional for you.
- Get Referrals. Ask anyone and everyone you know who they use for financial planning services. Find out what they like about the person to understand what the referrer values because it may be different from you.
- Interview. Meet with each professional you're considering. My friend met with five financial planners. One planner lost the job by focusing on himself versus the potential clients. Although this can be done over the phone, in-person meetings are worth the extra time and effort for such an important business relationship.
- Ask Questions. Not only do you want to know about the planner's experience, training and certifications but ask about payment. Is payment via fees, commissions or both? Will the planner be making money from selling you products? I prefer to work with fee only planners so I know they're not recommending products (insurance, funds) just for profit. Find out how often the adviser would communicate with you and update your plan.
- Be Prepared. Be ready to share information with the prospective planner. At a minimum you'll need to know your net worth, financial obligations and goals. If you want to know what they can do for you, they have to understand the starting point and the desired finish line.
- Check References. Don't hesitate to get references from the planners you're considering. Talk to present and past clients if possible to understand what they like and dislike about the services provided. Ultimately, you will have to weigh all the information and make selection or restart the process. Don't forget to include those intangibles in your selection once you've made sure essential criteria are met. Do you trust this person planning your financial future and want to work with him/her? If yes, then you have found a match.
Thoughts on Finding the Right Financial Planner
Do you have any tips for finding the right financial planner?
Photo Credit: William Hook