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Empowering your money

How to choose a financial planner

Here's how to take control of your finances by choosing the right financial planner for you.

Video Transcript

- A good financial planner can help make the difference between meeting your financial goals and failure. Here are several questions you should ask any financial planner before you hire someone. Find out how long the planner has practiced and what areas of expertise to give you an idea if your goals will align. Ask if the planner is registered with the state as an investment advisor or to sell securities or insurance. This lets you know whether you might need to work with other advisors in addition to your planner.

Services offered-- some planners offer advice but don't sell products. Others may provide advice only in specific areas. How they make money-- your planner will charge by fee only, commission only, or both fees and commissions. Their approach-- make sure your planner's approach isn't either too cautious or too aggressive for you. Professional references-- doing your research now will help you avoid misunderstandings and disappointment down the road.

One way to seek out a financial planner is to look for an individual who holds the financial planning license or certificates like certified financial planner, chartered financial consultant, chartered financial analyst, or personal financial specialist. Planners with these titles have generally completed years of intensive study in financial planning, passed a comprehensive financial planning test, and have previous experience working in the financial planning field.

Another resource is tapping professional organizations like the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors and the Financial Planning Association. These organizations will be happy to provide a referral to their members in your area. Stay financially fit, friends.