Your money is important to you and your business, therefore it’s vital to do your homework and find the right person to help you manage your money. A good starting point in finding a financial advisor is to ask your friends, family, or colleagues for recommendations. You can do additional research online, but your personal resources are a good place to begin.
It’s important to remember that when taking financial advice from a professional to ask them if they personally invest in what they are recommending you invest in. Consider asking, “Why would I invest in something that you would not invest in yourself?” If they can’t give you an answer that makes sense, you may need to keep looking.
Here are some additional things to keep in mind when finding a financial advisor:
Look for a fiduciary. This word is very important. It means that the financial planner has your best interests in mind at all times. Advisors who carry a fiduciary responsibility are legally bound to do the very best for you, and to put you first in all their planning and product selection. Keep in mind, these products may not always be the best for you, and it’s always okay to ask questions.
Look for a planner that is a CFP. CFP stands for Certified Financial Planner. CFP’s are licensed and regulated, and take mandatory continuing education on ethics and other aspects of financial planning.
Understand how the planner gets paid. This is an important one. You should know what type of financial advisor you are working with: fee-based or commission-based. You typically want to avoid commission-based advisors, as they may suggest products or investments you do not need or want. Planners who work on commission may also have incentives to push a certain brand or type of mutual fund if they’re getting a cut of the revenue they generate from the product.
Like their personality. To be able to work well with someone, you must have good communication and have the ability to get along. A good advisor will be friendly and professional, and be available to you (calling back promptly) to have your best interests in mind. If you can see them as a friend or colleague, you will be able to communicate openly with your needs and what is best for you.
When looking for an advisor, always be sure to do your homework. Do some research, talk to people, search around online. You can always meet someone and change your mind if you don’t feel good about them. Remember, this is your money – it’s your job to decide what’s best to do with it!
Resource for finding fee-only advisors (not commission based): http://findanadvisor.napfa.org/Home.aspx
Additional questions to ask when looking for an advisor: http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2013/05/09/10-questions-to-ask-when-choosing-a-financial-advisor/