While there may be many financial planners in your area, not all offer the same experience and expertise as others. Deciding which is right for you may take some trial and error. If you are worried about choosing the right one, make sure it has the following qualities.
1. Find someone who can advise you on debt
A good advisor will be able to advise you on how to clear your debt, such as suggesting the Debt Avalanche Method or the Snowball Method to help you figure out how to get rid of your debt as quickly as possible. If you are looking for a financial planner because you need help getting out of debt, you may want to try one of these easy methods before you incur the cost of a financial planner.
2. Good references
Always choose a financial planner with the right professional credentials. They must have a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) or be a Chartered Financial Planner (CFP). You can check their credentials on the CFA Institute website or on the CFP Board website. These credentials indicate a certain level of education and skill that other financial planners might not have.
3. Know how they are paid
You want to make sure that you are using a financial planner, not a salesperson. Salespeople at insurance companies or a fund management company often pose as financial planners, but their primary job is not to advise clients. The advisor can simply sell the company’s products and services, without giving you the best advice.
You can ask the following questions to see how they get paid and if they look more like a salesperson than an advisor:
Do they receive commissions on insurance sales?
Are they affiliated with other financial companies? Those who offer exclusive products?
Do they earn commissions on stock transactions?
Independent advisors can still be salespeople for businesses. Make sure you know how they are paid to find out the real reasons for their advice.
4. Choose a paid-only advisor
Find a financial planner who works for you and who is only paid by you and similar clients. A good financial planner will care more about providing you with the right services to help you rather than pushing their own agenda or trying to sell you something.
Consultants who have hourly fees are usually the best. Keep in mind that you don’t have to see your financial advisor all the time. You will usually have an initial consultation, then annual follow-ups to adjust your plan or the financial goals you have.
5. Find an advisor who keeps you on track
Having an advisor who keeps you on track is crucial because it will help you keep your finances in line with your goals. They should be able to understand your feelings about money and listen to your concerns and hopes. Remember, a financial planner is there to give you advice on your money, not to tell you exactly what to do with it. You should always be able to come up with your own ideas and tell the planner how you want to see your money used.