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Finding a Financial Advisor

 

Your Initial Financial Plan:

 


Looking For a CPA, Lawyer or Financial Advisor who has worked with lots of other newlyweds and is familiar with the issues that affect you?  

When you have a toothache, you go to the dentist and when your pet is sick, you go to the veterinarian.  But where do you go if you need help with your personal finances?  More and more, people are turning to financial advisors to help them with their finances.

Just check the local yellow pages and you'll see that there's a plethora of financial advisors out there.  How can you find one that's right for you?  Start by asking your friends, family, and business colleagues the name of their financial advisor and whether they are happy with the advice they have received.  If you have a relationship with a CPA or an attorney, ask them for a recommendation as well.  Then, after gathering some names, meet with at least three different financial advisors to get a sense of how they work.

The ABC's of Financial Advisors

When deciding who to work with, you may be surprised by all the different initials financial advisors put after their name.  Certified Financial Planners (CFP) and CPAs with a Personal Financial Specialty (PFS) designation have passed comprehensive exams on all aspects of financial planning.  Financial advisors with either of these designations should be able to advise you on a wide range of issues pertaining to your personal finances.

If you're looking for help with your investments, you might consider working with a Registered Investment Advisor (RIA).  And if you'd prefer working with a professional licensed by the insurance industry, then look for either a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) or a Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC). 

Even Financial Advisors Need to Eat

Nobody works for free.  Financial advisors earn their money by charging an hourly rate, receiving a commission by selling investments or insurance products, or by charging an annual fee based on assets under management.  Make sure that you understand how your financial advisor will be compensated and decide whether you are comfortable with that arrangement.

Do Your Due Diligence

Once you have narrowed your choice to one or two financial advisors, you need to do your due diligence.  First, ask for a handful of references and give those people a call.  Next, contact the better business bureau, your state attorney general's office, and the applicable state regulatory agencies to see if any complaints have been filed against this person.  If nothing pops up during your due diligence, and you're comfortable with how the financial advisor works and gets compensated, then set up an initial meeting to get the ball rolling.

Do-It-Yourselfers Need Not Despair

If you prefer to handle your own finances, the internet has made your job much easier.  Through the internet, you have access to an abundance of information on personal financial planning and to research on stocks and mutual funds.  You can also set up an on-line brokerage account, where the fees to manage your portfolio are generally quite low.  All these on-line resources allow do-it-yourselfers to act as their own financial advisors.

 

 

 

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This article was written by Andrew D. Schwartz, CPA for YourWriters.com and had previously been posted on Collegexit.com.