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How to Choose a Financial Advisor

    couple with financial advisor

    One of the best ways to get your finances in order will be to hire a professional to guide you. However, it’s important to know that not all financial advisors are made equal.

    Follow the pointers below and choose an advisor that will help you.

    • Which type of help do you need?

    Financial planning is a broad topic and no financial advisor is an expert in all areas. You’ll need to know exactly what you need help with.

    For example, if you’re thinking of writing a will, you’ll need an advisor who is well-versed in estate planning and preferably elder law.

    When a financial advisor specializes in one area, he/she will have in-depth knowledge of the laws, loopholes, interest rates and so on.

    A financial advisor who specializes in debt counselling will be the best person to advice you on eliminating debt quickly.

    The same applies to investing, buying property, finding ways to legally reduce your taxes and so on. Decide which parts you need help with and hire an advisor accordingly.

    • Ask for recommendations

    Speak to your family members and close friends and ask them if they know any reputable financial advisors they could recommend you. Once you know the details of the advisor, it’s time for you to do your own research.

    • Research

    Check out the financial advisor’s website, if they have one. Ideally, they should have one that looks current and professional. Nothing screams amateur more than a poorly done website that looks like it was created in 1980.

    • Speak to a few potential candidates first

    Once you’ve narrowed down the selection, meet up with the financial advisors (individually) who made the cut and speak to them. Your instincts will also help you when deciding here.

    Discuss their experience, qualifications, certification, education and so on. You can never be too sure here.

    If you’re hiring an advisor to guide you with investing, their investment philosophy should be in alignment with yours. If you’re prudent, but the advisor believes that investing in riskier investment vehicles for increased returns is better, both of you will not be on the same page.

    • Discuss payment before hiring

    Always find out what the financial advisor’s fees/rates are. It must fall within your budget.

    • Pay fees and NOT commissions

    When you hire a financial advisor, they must be only getting paid by you for their services and not be receiving commissions for recommending products. Always hire financial advisors who are salaried employees rather than ‘sales people’.

    You’ll want to hire someone who is looking out for your best interests and not a sales person who’s trying to make a juicy commission by making you invest in risky securities, etc. There should not be a conflict of interests here.

    In conclusion, hiring a financial advisor is not rocket science. Know what you need help with and hire a pro in that field. Vet them well before hiring.

    Make sure you can afford them, and that they’re working for you rather than working for commissions. If you want simple, low cost investment management, you may wish to consider robo-advisors. There are several options available to you. Do your research well and go with what suits your needs and budget.