A financial professional is someone you entrust to help you make financial decisions and hopefully make a positive impact on your financial situation. Deciding on the right person to work with takes time and research. There are common mistakes people make that could end up being costly. It’s important that you protect and advocate for yourself above all else. Here are some tips to help you in your search.
Understanding the type of financial professional you need is key. You should first determine your financial goals and needs, then look for someone with credentials that match those. When researching credentials, look for certifications such as chartered financial analyst (CFA) or certified financial planner (CFP). The CFP certification mean they have “met extensive training and experience requirements, and commit to CFP board’s ethical standards that require them to put their clients’ interests first.”1 If you are looking for someone to strictly help you with insurance matters, the previously mentioned designations may not be necessary. You should also look up financial professionals on https://brokercheck.finra.org/ to find their qualifications and disclosures.
Some financial professionals charge you a flat rate. Some are paid a commission by mutual funds, and others charge a percentage of your assets under commission. Someone who gets paid when you make money could motivate them to act more in your interest. “Most investors should opt for a fee-only financial professional, even though these planners may be more expensive for you to hire on the outset. That’s because they won’t have any additional revenue streams to offset their prices.”2It’s important you know how your financial professional gets paid because it could impact you financially.
You need an advisor whose goals align with your plans. For example, if you are a conservative investor who is approaching retirement, you likely don’t want someone who is going to put your finances at risk. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions. Never let someone take advantage of you or pressure you into making a decision you’re uncomfortable with. Meeting with financial professionals in person before working with them can help you get a sense of their goals for you. Remember that they’re on your team and should look out for you.
The most important thing is your financial professional has your best interest in mind when doing business. Take the time to find the right person who helps you get to your ideal retirement. Start by finding out their credentials, how they get paid, and their goals. You can get in touch with financial professionals in your area by attending a complimentary retirement course!
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