What are some of your top tips for finding the right financial advisor?

Hiring an honest, experienced and professional financial advisor might be exactly what you need. If you’re on the hunt for a financial advisor, but don’t know where to start, read on for some key qualities to look for in an advisor as well as some important questions to ask before hiring one.
Andy LaPointe

Andy LaPointe

Consultant, Author, and Trainer at .

Qualifications and Experience, Check Their Background, and Fiduciary Duty

Unfortunately, many business owners and retail investors only consider education and credentials when selecting the right advisor. While these are vital, other areas should be considered.

Practice Related Questions and Concerns:

    1. Qualifications and Experience
    Inquire about the financial advisor qualifications and experience. Make sure to check for certifications including: Certified Financial Planner (CFP), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), or Personal Financial Specialist (PFS).

    2. Check Their Background
    Once a business owner or retail investor is satisfied with an advisor’s experience and qualifications, check out the advisor’s background. Search FINRA’s BrokerCheck for any disciplinary actions or complaints.

    3. Ask if They are a Fiduciary Duty
    A fiduciary means they are legally obligated to act in your best interests. They put your investment needs and goals above their own.

    4. Ask How They Get Paid
    Are they a fee-based advisor or commission-based? While not 100% accurate, in general terms, fee-based advisors are typically seen as more unbiased. The reason is their income doesn’t depend on selling you certain products.

    5. Services Offered
    For example, if a client needs retirement advice, ask if the advisor is familiar with retirement planning strategies. Make sure the advisor offers the services you need.

Advisor Based Concerns and Questions:

    1. Personal Rapport
    Make sure you feel comfortable talking to your advisor about your financial situation and future goals. A client will disclose information they wouldn’t normally disclose. Make sure you are comfortable enough with the advisor to discuss every aspect of your financial life and obligations.

    2. Ask for References
    Always ask for references from current clients who have similar needs and financial goals. Once you get them, call the references and ask detailed questions.

    3. Understand Their Investment Philosophy
    Make sure your advisor’s investment approach aligns with your risk tolerance and financial goals.

    4. Ask About Their Personal Net Worth and Investments
    The joke in the industry is the reason brokers are called brokers is many of them are “broker” than the clients they service. Ask about the total net worth of the advisor you are interviewing.

    5. Regular Reviews
    Ask about regular reviews of your financial plan. Your needs and goals may change over time, and your finances should be reviewed and adjusted for these changes.

    Evaluate Experience and Track Record

    Consider the advisor’s level of expertise and track record before making a final decision. Think about the advisor’s experience and past results before hiring them. Look for experts who have a track record of assisting individuals like yours in reaching their financial objectives.

    For insight into the advisor’s performance and client happiness, it can be helpful to inquire about references or testimonials from current or previous clients. You may learn a lot about an advisor’s competence in dealing with different market conditions and giving you excellent financial advice by looking at their track record and experience.

    Kaloyan Dimitrov

    Kaloyan Dimitrov

    Resume Expert and Career Expert at .
    Keith Sant

    Keith Sant

    Head of Property Acquisitions & CTO at .

    Check References, Look For Someone Who Listens to Your Needs

    1. Make sure the financial advisor is registered and qualified
    Financial advisors should be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or a state securities regulator. Additionally, you’ll want to make sure they have the experience and qualifications necessary to provide competent advice for your particular situation.

    2. Look for an advisor who listens carefully to your needs
    It’s important to find a financial advisor who listens carefully to your goals, so that they understand what you’re trying to achieve and can provide the most appropriate advice.

    3. Check references
    Ask the financial advisor for client references and follow up with them to be sure they are satisfied with their services. This is a great way to get an idea of the financial advisor’s experience and expertise.

    4. Consider fees and services offered
    Different types of advisors charge different fees for their services, so it’s important to be aware of how much you’ll be paying and what services are included in the fee structure.

    5. Select a financial advisor you trust
    Above all, make sure you select a financial advisor that you trust to give the best advice for your particular needs and goals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, and if something doesn’t feel right, don’t be afraid to walk away.

    Ask How They Get Paid and Interview at least Two Advisors to Find the Right Fit

      ● First, it is important to ask financial advisors how they get paid. Choosing a financial advisor who operates on a commission-based structure can lead to obvious conflicts of interest. It is advisable to opt for an advisor who charges based on your assets, meaning that if they successfully grow your assets, they earn a higher payment. Alternatively, you can consider an advisor who charges an hourly fee for their services.

      ● Second, as a personal finance expert. I recommend people seek out a fiduciary who operates on a fee-only basis. In this case, seek Certified Financial Planners (CFPs). They are fiduciaries and possess extensive education and a strong code of ethics. A CFP will thoroughly assess your entire financial plan, which includes aspects such as insurance, estate planning, and taxes, not solely investments.

    It is also recommended to interview at least two or more professionals to find the right fit. Ideally, you want someone who will customize a plan based on your specific goals and who feels like a supportive teammate or coach rather than an all-knowing “expert.” They should be willing to educate and empower you, rather than simply managing your money.

    Trust your instincts in this process; if you or your spouse have any reservations, even if they are difficult to pinpoint, it is worth interviewing a different professional.

    Jonathan Merry

    Jonathan Merry

    CEO & Founder at .

    Edith Reads

    Senior Editor at .

    Understand What Type of Financial Advice You Need

    Choosing the right financial advisor is an important decision. It can be difficult to know where to start when looking for a financial advisor, but there are some key points to consider that will help you find the best fit for your needs.

    First, it’s important to understand what type of financial advice you need. Are you looking for someone to help with investments, retirement planning, or estate planning? Knowing this ahead of time will help narrow down your search and ensure that you select an advisor who specializes in the area that you need assistance with.

    Next, it’s essential to check credentials and references. Look for advisors who are certified financial planners (CFPs) as they have met extra education and experience requirements. Ask friends, family, and peers for recommendations when trying to find a financial advisor near you. Additionally, make sure to research any potential advisors thoroughly before making a decision. Check their background information and read customer reviews online if available.

    Finally, it’s important to understand how the advisor gets paid and whether they are fee-only or commission-based. Fee-only advisors typically charge an hourly rate or a flat fee for their services while commission-based advisors may receive compensation from selling certain products or investments on behalf of clients. Be sure to ask about fees upfront so that there are no surprises later on down the line.

    By following these tips, you can be confident that you’re choosing the best financial advisor for your needs and goals. With careful research and consideration of all factors involved, you can make an informed decision that will set you up for long-term success!

    This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.