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What to ask a financial planner

Once you have located a financial planner, you will want to make sure the planner is right for you. Here are several questions you should ask any financial planner before you hire him or her.

Questions to ask

  • "What experience do you have?" Find out how long the planner has practiced and what areas he or she is an expert in. This will give you an indication of whether or not the planner's expertise matches your goals.

  • "What designations and licenses do you hold?" Find out whether the planner is registered with the state as an investment adviser or to sell securities or insurance. This lets you know whether you might need to work with other advisors in addition to your planner.

  • "What services do you offer?" This varies greatly depending on the planner. Some planners offer advice but don't sell products. Others may provide advice only in specific areas.

  • "How do you charge and do you sell financial products for an outside company?" Your planner will charge by fee only, commission only, or both fees and commissions.

  • "Describe your approach to financial planning." Make sure your planner's approach isn't either too cautious or aggressive for you.

  • "Will you provide references?" It is always important to get the scoop from other clients.

Georgina Gracia-Leacock, tax preparer and office manager, speaks with Orren Hercules. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Georgina Gracia-Leacock, tax preparer and office manager, speaks with Orren Hercules. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

You can use sites such as http://brokercheck.finra.org/ or http://www.adviserinfo.sec.gov/IAPD/default.aspx. Doing your research now will help you avoid misunderstandings and disappointment down the road.

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.

Dive deeper: How to find a financial planner

This content was created in partnership with the Financial Fitness Group, a leading e-learning provider of FINRA compliant financial wellness solutions that help improve financial literacy.

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