There are many financial service professionals out there to choose from. But almost anyone can call themselves a “financial planner.” Choosing the right financial planner is too important to leave to chance.
- There are many financial service professionals out there to choose from, but almost anyone can call themselves a financial planner. You need to know whether a particular practitioner is capable of providing the services you need at a price you can afford. Put the same amount of research into choosing a financial planner like you would for a health care provider or lawyer.
One way to find a financial planner is to look for an individual who holds a financial planning license or certificate. There are also designations like certified financial planner, chartered financial consultant, chartered financial analyst, personal financial specialist. Planners with these titles have generally completed several years of intensive study, passed a comprehensive test, and have experience working in the financial planning field.
Several financial planning authorities and professional associations give out licenses and administer exams. Each organization will be happy to provide a referral to its members in your area.
Once you have located a financial planner, you will want to make sure the planner is right for you. Here are a few topics that should be covered before you hire them. Ask about their experience, how long they've been practicing, and their area of expertise. Ask what designations and licenses they hold. This lets you know whether you might need to work with other advisors in addition to your planner.
Ask about the services they offer. Find out how they charge and if they sell financial products for an outside company. Your planner will charge by fee only, commission only, or both fees and commissions.
Make sure your planner's approach isn't either too cautious or too aggressive for you. And it's always important to get the scoop from other clients and ask for references. Your financial future may hinge on the advice of your financial planner. Take the time to be sure you're hiring the right one for you. Stay financially fit, friends.