How to Find a Financial Advisor in 5 Simple Steps

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Financial advisors help guide people on their journey to financial health and success. A financial advisor assists families and individuals who need help with the complexity of investing, saving, and budgeting. They’re helpful for any level of income, from those with an abundance of money to those struggling with low income. If you feel you need help taking the next step with your finances, then you might be wondering how to find a financial advisor.

A financial advisor’s professional help can be the best tool when it comes to bigger financial decisions, like savings and retirement. Read on for five simple steps for how to find a financial advisor and make your next moves in your financial journey

1. Understand What Your Needs Are

After you decide to seek out the assistance of a financial advisor, determine what your specific needs are. Use this quick overview of financial advising services to determine what is best for you:

Financial Planning Services

Before you think about investing, some general financial planning will help you look at your finances from every angle. This means determining how much to spend and save each month, what type of insurances you need, debt repayment plans, and college planning. For these services, you might consider consulting a financial planner who specializes in these areas, as opposed to an advisor who is more hands-on with managing your money.

Investment Management Services

It is crucial that you begin investing early so your money can accumulate long-term growth. Investment advising will help you start your financial journey by choosing the best kind of investment accounts for your goals. Once your money is in the right places, your financial advisor will help you manage and adjust those accounts for the most potential growth.

Retirement Income Planning

A huge part of a financial advisor’s job is to help you prepare and invest for retirement. They will assist you in setting up retirement accounts like a Traditional or Roth IRA or a 401k. They will also advise you on how much money to save for retirement and what to do with it once you retire.

Wealth Accumulation

Financial advisors are great at helping clients build their wealth. It’s one thing to save your money, but it’s even more important that you grow your money for long-term financial health. If you struggle to build your wealth, a financial advisor has the tools and expertise to multiply your money.

2. Choose the Right Type of Advisor 

Now that you know what kinds of services a financial advisor can provide, it’s time to choose the right type of advisor. Financial advisors can be found through different means and offer various services based on your needs. First, you will need to decide between seeing a one-on-one advisor or using a robo-investing firm.

  • One-on-one advising – A one-on-one advisor typically means you are going to see an advisor in person. This is ideal for families because physically talking with someone about your finances gives them a better chance to understand you, your family, and all of your personal needs. This will allow you to build a strong relationship with your advisor so they can give you advice specific to your goals.
  • Robo-investing – If you are someone looking for a cost-efficient way to manage your finances, then you might think about going through a robo advisor. There are plenty of investment firms that offer low-cost financing tools and tips online. You can even set up your robo investment accounts to be managed automatically with your financial goals settings.

3. Find a Reputable Financial Advisor

Once you know the services that financial advisors offer and the different types to choose from, you will want to find the right financial advisor for you. Understanding where to look and what to look for will help you determine how to find a financial advisor. Financial advisors can work for investment firms, financial consulting groups, or be self-employed. Remember, your advisor will greatly influence your money, so you want someone who understands your needs.

How Do I Find an Advisor?

  • Personal Recommendations – You should first ask for recommendations from the people you know, like friends, family, and co-workers. These are good people to ask because if a financial advisor already works with someone you know, odds are they might already have a general understanding of your needs.
  • Online Search – There is no better search tool than your web browser. You’ll be surprised by the number of reputable advisors and investment firms you can find with a google search. You can even search for local financial advisors to find someone who has the best interest in helping the people in your community.
  • Third-Party Site – Another thing to try is finding a search engine specifically for curating lists of financial advisors. There are plenty of companies and financial organizations that help online users find local financial advisors

You will then want to be sure that you are checking the financial advisor’s history and credentials. Many financial titles can be obtained with very little experience, so you will want to be sure your advisor is capable of everything they claim. Once you find an advisor you can check if they are registered with FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) or the SEC (Security and Exchange Commission).

Some other trustworthy credentials you can check for are CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) and CFP® (Certified Financial Planner™). The CFA is specific to individuals who do detailed analysis of investments. A CFP® is someone who focuses on retirement, insurance, estate planning, and taxes.

4. Get to Know Them Before Hiring

You will want to stress to your advisor the importance of knowing them well before hiring them. Most advisors offer free introductory calls and meetings to confirm the advisor and client are a good fit to work together. The financial advisor that is right for you needs to understand your life so they can provide the best advice that pertains to you. Before deciding to hire your financial advisor, try asking some of these questions:

  • Are you a fiduciary, and how do you get paid?
  • Do you get sales bonuses? Or do you have structured pay packages based on products and services sold?
  • How often and in what channels do you communicate with your clients?
  • Tell me about your typical client and what services you provide them?
  • How long have you been practicing?
  • Will you provide retirement plan projections?

Commission vs. Fee-based Compensation

  • Commission-based – Commission-based advisors make money on every account opened and each transaction they process with most transactions costing a minimum of $125 to $150. These advisors are best for small clients because those people likely could be served in a much more cost-effective way. However, it is important to be cautious when you work with a commission-based advisor. Some advisors are known to be subjective because they are often incentivized to sell products. They are usually only educated on and able to sell the in-house product they have access to.
  • Fee-based – Fee-based advisors can recommend any product from anywhere. They are compensated based on the accounts and assets that they manage. This means they don’t have to rely on a high amount of sales to make their money and because of that, they can offer more objective information. These advisors are great for families and individuals who have investment plans, retirement accounts, and money to manage.
  • Fee-only – Fee-only advisors are fiduciaries, which means no matter what services you need, the advisor will work in your best interest. These advisors are also only paid for their services by their clients. This means they do not receive any other payments on commissions or selling another company’s products. Go to a fee-only advisor if you want the best financial advice that pertains to you.

5. Stay Involved

Once you know how to find a financial advisor you trust, you must stay informed about how they’re handling your money and keep an eye out for suspicious signs. This is your money they are dealing with, so you want to make sure it is always in the best hands and remember that you make the final decisions. Also don’t be afraid to interview new advisors every 5 or so years because things change quick, so make sure you are still getting the best service for you.

Get the most out of your financial advisor by meeting with them regularly so you can make sure you’re both working towards the same goals. If you meet with your advisor frequently, you can be more aware of and involved in what happens to your money.

It will be to your benefit to use your time to learn more about finances. This will allow you to be well informed about what you can do with your money. Nonetheless, if you find that you are struggling to grow, invest, and manage your money, then it might be worth paying for a financial advisor’s services. Turbo offers some great tools and personalized tips to help you take charge of your financial health.

Sources:  FINRA | RaymondJames

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