5 tips for finding a financial pro who's the right fit for youFinances
Making decisions about your finances and creating a financial strategy without professional help can be stressful. But for many people, finding the right financial professional can be stressful as well. After all, this person’s guidance will affect how you plan for everything — from sending your kids to college, to retiring comfortably, to creating a plan for life’s unexpected twists and turns.
Not sure where to start? These five tips can help you choose the financial professional that’s right for you.
- Get references.
Ask friends, relatives or colleagues to recommend financial professionals they use and trust. Be sure to ask for references and follow up on them.
- Have a talk.
Interview several candidates before making your final choice. This is the best way to get a feel for their personalities and work styles. To help frame up the conversation, use these questions.
- Know how they’ll be compensated.
All financial professionals are paid for the services they provide. Here’s an overview of the three primary fee structures:
- Commission-based professionals receive a commission on the sale of stocks, mutual funds, annuities or life insurance. Commission-based professionals don’t charge you directly for their recommendations.
- Fee-only professionals have a fiduciary responsibility to act in your best interest. They don’t receive commissions or fees based on sales. Instead, they generally provide comprehensive financial planning services, and make their money from flat fees, hourly rates or a percentage of the assets they manage.
- Fee-based professionals are a hybrid between commission-based and fee-only professionals. They charge you a fee for financial planning services and also sell financial products for which they receive commissions.
- Do a background check.
Financial professionals can have a variety of licenses and credentials. These include licenses to sell life insurance, annuities and securities such as stocks and mutual funds, and professional credentials such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation. You can check for these items, as well as any legal or ethical issues that have been brought against financial professionals, using BrokerCheck from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) or the Investment Adviser Search provided by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
- Find out if their areas of expertise fit your needs.
Maybe you need advice on saving for college or retirement, managing your small business or estate planning. Whatever your life stage and financial needs, make sure your financial professional has expertise in the areas that are important to you and can help you meet your financial goals.
Remember, it’s all about you. Invest the time now to choose a financial professional who’s the right fit for you and you’ll enjoy the benefits of guidance and strategies to help you reach your future financial goals.
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