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What You Should Know About Your Financial Advisor

Financial AdviceThere are different times in many people’s lives when they need the services of a financial planner.  With so many planners available it can be difficult trying to decide which ones to contact.  One of the best ways to start is by asking friends and family for recommendations.  Once you have a list of planners you should begin the interview process.  Most financial planners will meet with you and answer questions about their training, experience and fees at no charge.

The following are some of the more common questions that people ask potential planners during their interviews:

Tell me about your qualifications. Because there are over 50 different types of financial planners you will want to make sure that you are working with one that is specifically trained to meet your needs.  It’s also best to hire a planner that is certified.  You can also check to see if they are a member of a professional organization of if they hold licenses in certain specialties.

Tell me about your experience. It’s usually comforting to hire a planner that is experienced but you shouldn’t rule out working with a new planner either.  If you decide to work with an experienced planner you will want to make sure that they have been keeping up with the latest trends.

Tell me about the services you provide. Different financial planners provide different services and some planners provide multiple services.  You will need to know exactly what services you need before you begin your search.  Some of the different services that can be provided include investments, retirement planning, debt counseling, and tax assistance, just to name a few.  You will want to make sure that the planner you choose is educated and licensed, if necessary, in the areas that you need help in.

Tell me about your staff and colleagues. Some financial planners work alone and others have partners.  If you will be working with more than one planner you will want to make sure to interview everyone that you will be working with.  If the planner you choose works with individuals outside of his company, like insurance agents, attorneys, etc. you will want to do background checks on these people as well.

Tell me about any financial products you sell. Some planners, especially those who specialize in investments, receive commission when money is invested in specific funds.  You will need to make sure that you feel comfortable with the investments and that you are not being pressured into investing in the funds for the financial gain of the planner.

Tell me about your fees. There are typically three ways that financial planners charge for their service:  Flat rate fees, hourly fees, and commission.  After explaining what type of services you require the planner should be able to give you an estimate of what your cost will be.

I would like it in writing. There is nothing wrong with wanting to have all of the things your spoke about put in writing before you secure the services of a financial planner.  This is a safety precaution for both yourself and the planner.

It may seem very time consuming to conduct such in depth interviews with a number of planners but it will be worth every moment.  You have worked hard for your money and you want to make sure that your financial planner works hard to keep your money safe while allowing you to earn more.