Everyone’s financial situation is different. If you want to ensure that your money is in good hands, it’s important to find a financial advisor who can be a great member of your team and help you achieve your financial goals.
Finding the right financial advisor doesn’t just mean working with someone who has the right credentials. It means finding someone who you can trust to give you unbiased advice and who will have your best interests at heart.
That means taking the time to get to know a potential advisor and asking the right questions before making any decisions. Aside from their competence, you want an advisor who can break things down in a way that makes sense to you and who you feel comfortable communicating with.
Rapport is key in any relationship, and that includes the one you have with your financial advisor. If you don’t feel like you can be honest about your finances or ask questions without feeling embarrassed, it’s probably not the right fit.
Keep that in mind as you consider the following five factors in finding the right financial advisor for you.
1. Consider Your Financial Goals
Before you start looking for a financial advisor, it’s important to have a good understanding of your financial goals. Do you want to save for retirement? Are you interested in investing in real estate or stocks? Are you trying to pay off debt?
Your financial goals will help you narrow down the type of advisor you’re looking for. For example, if you’re interested in investing, you’ll want to find an advisor who has experience managing investments. Do you want to start building wealth using debt? Then you’ll need an advisor who knows how to navigate the world of loans and credit.
Remember that not all financial advisors offer the same level of service. Some may simply provide investment advice, while others will manage your investments for you. Some may offer a comprehensive suite of financial services, including estate planning and tax advice.
If you’re not sure what level of service you need, start by looking for an advisor who offers a consultation. This will give you the chance to discuss your financial goals and get a sense of what services would be most beneficial for you.
The more services an advisor offers, the more expensive they are likely to be. However, you may find that the convenience and peace of mind of having all your financial needs taken care of in one place is worth the cost.
2. Consider Your Risk Tolerance
Knowing just how much risk you are willing to stomach will help you find the right advisor for you.
Your risk tolerance is determined by a variety of factors, including your age, your investment goals, and your financial situation. Younger investors, for example, can generally afford to take on more risk than older investors because they have more time to recover from any potential losses.
Of course, even if you are comfortable with a certain amount of risk, that doesn’t mean you should invest all of your money in high-risk ventures.
A good financial advisor will help you find the right balance of risk and reward for your individual situation. It can be hard expressing your risk tolerance to a stranger, but it is important to be honest with your advisor about your comfort level with risk so that they can help you make the best moves with your money.
While all financial advisors can tailor their advice to fit your risk tolerance, some specialize with certain clients. For example, some investors can work with those with a high tolerance for risk. Others will work with those who have a low tolerance for risk. Doing research to find an advisor who coincides with your values will ensure you feel comfortable working with that advisor.
3. Determine Your Investment Goals
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s actually surprisingly difficult for many people to do. Without clearly defined goals, it can be tough to find an advisor who is a good fit for you and your situation. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to think about what you want to achieve before meeting with any potential advisors.
Some questions that can help you determine your investment goals include:
- What are your long-term goals?
- Do you want to make sure you have enough money saved to cover unexpected expenses?
- What financial legacy do you want to leave behind for your children or grandchildren?
- Do you want to do some charitable giving?
- What are your risk tolerance and capacity for loss?
Once you have a good sense of your goals, look for an advisor who has helped clients achieve similar objectives.
Of course, your goals may change over time, and that’s perfectly normal. Life happens, and as circumstances change, so too might your financial priorities. But having a clear understanding of your goals from the start will ensure you find an affordable and effective advisor.
4. Consider the Cost
The cost of working with a financial advisor can vary widely. Some advisors charge by the hour, while others charge a flat fee or a percentage of assets under management.
Some advisors even offer their services for free, though they may still earn commissions on the products they sell to clients.
Before you start working with an advisor, be sure to ask about their fees and what they include. That way, you can be sure that you are comfortable with the cost of their services.
Advertised rates are not always the only fees you’ll pay, either. Some advisors charge additional fees for things like account maintenance or transaction costs. Others may require that you maintain a certain level of assets under management to avoid paying higher fees. Be sure to ask about all potential fees so that you can be sure you are getting the best value for your money.
Referrals from friends and family can be a great way to find exactly how much it costs to work with different advisors. This can help pin down a fair rate for the services you’re interested in and avoid awkward conversations about money later on.
5. Consider the Advisor’s Credentials and Experience
When you’re looking for a financial advisor, it’s important to consider their credentials as well as their client history. Advisors who have earned the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation have completed extensive coursework and passed a rigorous exam. This designation is one of the most respected in the industry.
Reasons you may need help from a CFP include:
- You don’t have the time to keep up with investment news
- You want someone to provide an objective second opinion on your investment choices
- You’re working with a limited budget and need help finding the best value investments
You may also want to look for an advisor who is a registered investment advisor. Investment advisors are held to a higher standard than CFPs; they have a fiduciary duty to their clients, which means they must always act in their clients’ best interests.
Investment advisors help manage your investment portfolio, in addition to providing financial planning services. They can provide valuable assistance if you’re working with a limited budget or don’t have the time to research investments on your own. Some investment advisors also offer brokerage services, allowing you to buy and sell investments through their firm.
In addition to credentials, you’ll also want to consider an advisor’s experience. Experience is difficult to measure though as there is no specific rule for how much experience is good. Generally, though, a good idea is to look for someone with a few years of experience under their belt. This will help ensure that they have a good understanding of the market and can provide sound advice.
Giving these advisors a chance helps as it allows them to build a track record and learn from mistakes. Even though you may end up losing some money short-term, having a reliable advisor working with you is better long-term. Especially one that has CFP.
When you’re looking for a financial advisor, it’s important to consider the following:
- Your financial goals,
- The level of risk you’re comfortable with,
- The fees you’re willing to pay,
- And the advisor’s credentials.
It’s also important to find an advisor who you can build a rapport with feel comfortable communicating with. If you don’t click with an advisor, you’ll find it frustrating to work with them now and in the future.
Keep our five tips in mind as you start your search for a financial advisor, and you’ll be one step closer to finding the right person to help you reach your financial goals!
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