How To Choose A Financial Advisor


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When most people think about the stereotypical person who uses the services of a financial advisor, generally the image of a wealthy person comes to mind. The average Joe probably does not consider that he or she could need such services. But, they also probably never considered that the wealthy may have gotten that way by making use of expert advice.

The fact is that millions of Americans who probably should use financial planners don’t because they think the service is too expensive or otherwise inaccessible. There are a number of factors that people should consider when choosing a financial advisor.

How to Know if You Need a Financial Advisor

Knowing when you need a financial advisor is one of the first steps to choosing the best financial advisor for your situation. Many experts recommend that those who can afford to invest 20 percent or more of their gross annual income should probably talk to a financial advisor.

Also, those who are newly married or going through a divorce are recommended to seek the services of a financial advisor. Overall, anyone looking to chart a bright financial future should at least consider a meeting with a qualified financial planner.

Certified Financial Planner

Those financial planning professionals who are the most serious about their careers usually make it a point to get their certifications. Becoming a Certified Financial Planner ensures potential clients that they have passed all of the required courses and tests and are certified to give financial planning advice.

Ask Friends and Family for Recommendations

One of the best ways to find the appropriate financial planning professional for your situation is to ask your family, friends and acquaintances for a recommendation. If no one in your close circle has a recommendation for you, talk to your coworkers – especially those who work in financial departments.

Decide on Fiduciary or Suitability

Financial planners and advisors generally operate based on one of two distinct and well-defined standards.

Those who work based on the Fiduciary standard are legally bound to provide good advice which fits your or individual needs and situation. These financial advisors generally work for a fee. The fee is typically charged on a quarterly basis and may amount to a percentage of your total assets under management.

Financial advisors who work on the Suitability standard are not required to advise you on the absolute best investments for your individual situation, but rather are bound to advise you on investments which are simply suitable to your situation. So, while these financial advisors are not legally able to give you bad advice, they may steer you into investments which are being heavily promoted by their employers. So, those working on the suitability standard may be seen as making recommendations which are both good for you and good for them.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance , Banking and Loans , Investing Ideas
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