How do you find a financial advisor?
How do you find a financial advisor who knows what he’s doing?
How do you find a financial advisor you can trust?
Answer the latter two and you know what to do… In fact, I’d go at the last question first…
How do you find a financial advisor you can trust? To begin with you’ll need to understand the conflicts of interest inherent in the business of giving financial advice. And I can’t think of none more obvious, and prevalent, than commission income… Advisors who earn they’re living via commissions have products, as opposed to advice, to sell. Fee-based advisors charge only for advice…
Therefore, in your quest to find a financial advisor you can trust, you might narrow your search to fee-based advisors…
Now go and Google “fee-based financial advisors” in your area… You’ll find a number of lists published by local, as well as national, financial planning associations… Now print the list and go ask your friends and associates if they know or have worked with any of those advisors… If you’re fortunate, you’ll find a financial advisor with a shining reputation amongst one or more of your peers. There’s no greater endorsement than that which comes from experience. And if she indeed enjoys a strong rep amongst your peer(s), you can bet she’s amply qualified…
If no one you know can endorse an advisor on your list, start at the top and schedule a few introductory meetings. Here’s what you’re after:
1. A CFP (Certified Financial Planner)
2. A list of referrals you can contact
3. Samples of work she’s performed
4. At least 5-10 years of experience
5. No disciplinary actions
6. A willingness to meet with you at least twice a year
7. A humble attitude toward the stock market. I.e., if he claims he can time the market, you get out of there in a hurry!
8. A diversified, long-term, approach to investing
Take your time and, if something doesn’t feel right, trust your instincts. Like with all professions, there’s good ones and there’s bad ones..
Best of luck in your quest to find a financial advisor…