When you need someone to help you run your family’s financial affairs, you may consider hiring a financial adviser. Putting someone in charge of your family’s financial future can be scary and a decision that shouldn’t be made lightly. You need to hire someone who has your best interests in mind and someone who you can trust and feel comfortable with. You should talk with several financial advisers and find the one that is the right fit for your financial needs. In order to determine who is the best financial adviser for you there are several questions you should ask.
How long have you been a financial adviser?
Let’s face it, this is your money and you want someone who has some experience. Unlike other professions, there are no internship programs required before someone can become a financial adviser. Listen to what they tell you in terms of their experience. While having a background as a CPA (certified public accountant) or other banking field can be helpful, it’s not the same as having experience directly as a financial adviser. Some recommend not hiring anyone who has less then 4 years experience.
What experience do you have?
You want to hear an answer that details lots of history. You can gauge if they’ve had mostly experience dealing with corporations or individuals.
What are your qualifications?
With this question, you are looking to find out if they are a Certified Financial Planner (CFP). If so you can check them out through the agency that offers the certification. Many professionals in the financial world claim to be financial planners but have little or no expertise in this field.
Ask them to tell you about your ideal client.
You may have discovered through asking about their experience what their typical client is. Does this match you? You want to hear an answer that closely relates to your financial situation. For example, if you are a young family just starting out, you may not want to choose someone who deals mostly with seniors or corporations.
Ask them to explain a certain service or concept to you.
It’s not that you are really looking for the answer to this question. You are looking to see if they explain things to you in terms that you understand and are willing to take the time to explain things to you should you ever have questions.
What services do you offer?
Some financial advisers only offer certain services based on credentials, licenses, and experience. Some offer advice on a specialized area only like estate planning. Others offer advice on products but don’t sell those products while others do. You need to know what you want your financial adviser to be able to offer you or help you with.
Will you be the one working with me?
Some advisers work alone while others have office staff. You want to know who you will be talking to if you have questions or need to make appointments. Also, some financial advisers use outside practices like attorneys and insurance agents. You should look into these people too before deciding to hire this financial adviser.
How are you compensated?
You are looking for an honest answer regarding all fees. If they are paid directly by you or their company, then they’ll be looking out for your best interests. If they are paid by a broker dealer then they could be more loyal to that person and the products they have to offer.
How much do you charge?
They should be able to give you an estimate based on the services you need. It may not be an exact total, but they should be afraid to quote you for their services.
Can I have it in writing?
Your financial adviser should be willing to give you a written agreement of all of the services and fees you have agreed upon.