If you’ve made the decision to look for a financial advisor, there are a few key steps you can take to ensure that you find the right professional for your needs.
Let’s look at a few simple ways to find a financial advisor who understands your concerns and uses strategies that you’re comfortable with. We’ll also cover a few tips for how to screen them during your first meeting.
Where to Find a Financial Advisor
There are a few key places to begin your search for a financial advisor.
Ask for Recommendations
Do you know anyone (family, friend, or coworker) who has worked with a financial advisor? Have they felt like the experience has helped them to manage their money better or become more prepared for the future?
If so, then ask for a recommendation. Word of mouth is sometimes the best form of advertising, and a lot of local advisors rely on the people they serve to spread the word.
Like most things, you can look online for a financial advisor. You can use online directories or search engines to find potential advisors in your area. Plenty of professional financial planning associations offer databases of financial advisors that you can search through for free.
Check Your Local Listings
Chances are that no matter where you live you don’t have to go too far to find a reputable financial advisor. Although some may work independently, don’t forget that they may also work at:
- Investment firms
- Accounting firms
- Banks and credit unions
If you’re having trouble finding one on your own, a good place to contact is the local chamber of commerce. Almost every community has an organization such as this to help promote and further the interests of small businesses.
What to Ask When You Meet with a Financial Advisor
No matter where you find an advisor, it’s critical that you have complete confidence in their abilities. That’s why asking a few screening questions during the first meeting will help to go a long way. For instance, you may wish to ask:
- Are you a fiduciary?
- Are you fee-based or do you earn commissions?
- If you are fee-based, what percentage do you charge for AUM (assets under management)? For example, 1% AUM for $1 million would be an annual fee of $10,000.
- Do you hold any certifications such as CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst)?
- Are you also a financial planner and hold a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ certification?
There are many different types of financial advisors, so it is important to find one that suits your individual needs. With so many different types of advisors out there, it is important to do your research to find the right one for you. Asking lots of questions and meeting with multiple advisors will help you find the best possible fit for your needs.